There are two important rituals in Torajan’s lives: Rambu Solok (the death ceremony) and Rambu Tuka (the wedding ceremony, rice harvest celebration and other celebration). Rambu Solok is a parade towards the burial. It has of two parts: the burial and stage show. During the burial they wrap death, decorate the coffin and carry the coffin from the Tongkonan to the Alang, and to the burial chambers.

The stage show consists of reception, music performances, dance shows, buffalo marches, buffalo fights and slaughter of the buffalos and boars. It could mount to a tens or even hundreds of buffalos, depending on the social status of the family doing the ceremony. This burial ceremoney is very important to the Torajan people, as family members from far away places go back home to be together with their family.

In Toraja, the cheers and delight of the burial ceremony is more than the wedding ceremony. The Semi-permanent Tongkonan houses are setup to be used as a reception place for the guests. The burial ceremony could be very costly, and take about 7 days more or less (depending on the situation of the host family). The number of the animals offered to the deity, the type of buffalo, the quality of the semi-permanent reception-houses are the major contributors of cost of a burial ceremony.

Notes for the tourists: the Torajan people do the ceremonies first and foremost is to fulfill their cultural obligations, not as a tourist attraction. So please do not presume that when during your visit to Tana Toraja there will be a ceremony to welcome you. And please calm yourselves if during your visit there is no ceremony at all.

Categories: Tana Toraja | Leave a comment

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