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Travel

Rambu Solo, Toraja: The Grand Funeral that Attracts Travellers from Around the World

It is grand and bizarre at the same time. But that’s exactly why people from around the world come to Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia – to see Rambu Solo aka the traditional funeral ceremony.

In the previous post, I shared with you how Torajans respect their family highly, especially when it comes to sending the deceased to the afterlife.

Noble families usually sacrifice 24-100 buffaloes. The middle-class families will sacrifice 8 buffaloes and 50 pigs. The locals believe the more buffaloes slaughtered, the faster the soul reaches heaven.

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The guests take refuge in the bamboo house

As you can see from the video above, Rambu Solo is a grand funeral ceremony. It lasts for a few days/weeks and costs a lot of money. The higher the social status of the deceased, the grander the funeral will be.

There’s an emcee, dancers, hundreds of guests, snacks and drinks for the guests, also gifts (animals) from relatives & neighbours.

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Look at the colourful entrance!
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Me posing with a dancer

The funeral ceremonies in Toraja is open for travellers. You just have to give a small amount of money and a carton of cigarettes or bags of sugar to the family member of the deceased as donations.

P.S. when they serve you snacks, take a few bites even if you don’t feel like having them. I wasn’t in the mood but my tour guide advised me to as a sign of respect. I had no regret coz the snacks are yummy!

You’ll Be Counting Stars Animals during Rambu Solo

guests family female dancer walk around rambu solo funeral ceremony toraja rain_agirlnamedclara

Behind the grand appearance, Rambu Solo sometimes inflicts guilt and financial problem on the family of the deceased. As if the pressure to hold the funeral isn’t enough, they must repay the gifts from others.

If someone gives a buffalo, they must give a bigger one or more buffaloes. If the family can’t afford to repay the gift, then the children or grandchildren should do it.

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Me playing with a buffalo in a buffalo farm, before Rambu Solo
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The emcee and some men walk around with a mic to announce the name of the donators and mark the pigs
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The buffaloes start to get uneasy, some men are calming them down
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Those seats are reserved for the royals / high status people
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The women are carrying snacks for the guests and the family of the deceased
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I feel sorry for this cute, chubby little pig

During Rambu Solo, the buffaloes and pigs are marked with the initial of the donators. The emcee will announce the name also how many buffalo and/or pigs that family donates.

Fed up looking at the screens? Take this digital detox trip!

I Missed Ma’Nene, the Walking Dead Ceremony in Toraja… but It’s Okay

asian girl stand in the middle buffalo farm smiling solo travel toraja indonesia_agirlnamedclara
It’s okay… I got to visit the buffalo farm!

Toraja offers beautiful scenery and exotic culture. But I can say Ma’Nene – the walking dead ceremony, is what intrigued people the most. Including me!

Actually, I went to Toraja for Ma’Nene but I missed it. The best time to witness Rambu Solo and Me’Nene is towards the end of August (travellers, take note!).

So, what is Ma’Nene? Can I really see the walking dead in Indonesia?

Absolutely. And no worries, they don’t bite!

How does it happen?

The Torajans mummify the deceased. Then, every three years, they will take the mummies out from the coffin, clean and dress them up. They will bring the mummies to walk around and snap family photos.

Click here for some money insights and advices

As I’m not experiencing Ma’Nene myself, you can read more information and watch the video here.

Alright, teman-teman! I know I said that I would share with you the Baby Grave and historical burial site last week. I’ll do it next week, ok? Hehe!

If you’re planning for a unique and exotic summer trip next year, remember to witness the grand funeral Rambu Solo and Ma’Nene in Toraja, Indonesia. Travellers, mark your August 2021 calendar đŸ˜‰

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