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