Loss of beloved ones is not ephemeral; they are often thought of and remembered especially with the memories they have left behind. The pain of losing a loved one undoubtedly may become unbearable but as time passes and in 97% of world tribes and people they will be forgotten and the memories shared will be blown into oblivion.
For the tribe and people that constitute the remaining 3%, it is a very different story. In Indonesia the dead and buried members of a family are often removed, to show their significant impact, and how they have been missed they are lifelessly promulgated into the family.
Who Are The Torajan?
The ‘Torajan’ tribe which has a population of over 1million people and are habitants of ‘Salawasi mountain’ with the larger percentage of the its population Christian’s while Muslims and the indigenous religion officially recognized as ‘Aluk To Dolo’ by the Indonesian government representing the lower percentage and are in the category of the above 3 percent.
Unlike the practice and beliefs of the 97 percent of the world, there seems to be no goodbye for the dead in Torajan. This tribe of Indonesia is known for lavish spending in the performance of a deceased member’s funeral rite, and it is made compulsory, to which members who could not afford the expensive rite will keep their dead until when they are well-financed.
This does not mean burying the body of the deceased or keeping it in the mortuary but keeping it in the house, although in a separate room, and been treated like a person who is merely sick and needs constant attention.
In this part of the world, the dead are according to cultural belief given due attention which includes being fed by the rest member of the family for at least 2 to 3 times per day. In case you are wondering if the dead eat, in Torajan they do.
This act is not performed in a single day but continuously until the ceremony is performed and the body is buried.
The Indonesian culture that keeps dead bodies is performed every 3 years from the day the deceased is buried. This means that even after the expensive funeral rite of a dead person they are often remembered every 3 years, and during this period, the mummified body is visited by the rest of the family members, exhumed, removed and cleaned.
Strange indeed. An activity in form of another ceremony will be organized but this time it won’t require much financial assistance like the previous one, although this one usually attracts foreigners, who may find the tradition wired and difficult to believe, coming to witness the ceremony their self’s.
The mummified body after cleaned and dressed in a new attire is then taken to hang out with family and friends they have left behind. During the hangout, other neighboring members of the same locality will be invited to per take in the fun.
Foods, drinks, and selfies will be taken before the body is returned back to its tomb. This ritual rite will be performed again after 3years from burial day.