Tana toraja is quite simply unique. A cultural island, hemmed in by mountains on all sides, the toraja prove there is life after death with their elaborate ceremonies. Take the beauty of Bali, the houses of the Bataks in Sumatra and the megalithic cultures of Sumba and you’re still not even close. Cave graves, hanging graves, tau tau (life-sized wooden effigies) of the dead and buffalo carnage every summer; it’s macabre but mesmerising. This is a world unto itself.
Toraja arcitectureTana toraja is undoubtedly the most popular destination in Sulawesi. It’s a vast, pretty and mostly unspoilt area of traditional villages, unique architecture and fascinating cultures. The funeral season is usually during July and August, when toraja working throughout Indonesia return home for celebrations, tourists come in numbers and Rantepao hotel prices peak.
Most Tana Torajans are Chirstian while still retaining their traditional norms and customs. If someone dies, his or her body will be kept inside the house for days, sometimes weeks or even months. The body is well treated and preserved by using cetain herbs. The purpose of keeping the body are to give a chance to the family of the deceased to gather and collect money. Once the fund is enough to hold a necessary ceremony, the ritual begins.
From the Torajan's point of view, however, life starts from and ends in heaven. Thus, there are two most important events in human life-birth and death. In this case, to properly reach heaven means to have proper burial, which in turn means to provide as many buffalos and pigs as possible.
On the burial ceremony, they leave the corpse inside a cave. Many visitor would surprise of not smelling any strong odor that usually comes with a corpse. Oral history says taht in the old days, the deceased would be "ordered" by a shaman to walk by him or herself to the cave. It was a zoombie-like procession. Unfortunately no one can witness this kind of ritual today.
The most spectacular of Torajan rituals are the funerals. For Torajan, a funeral is the single most important ceremony in the life cycle. It is based on a strong belief that the soul of the deceased travels to the land of the south and in this land of eternity, he will need all the requisites of everyday life in the hereafter just like when he was alive in this world. Funeral ceremonies are festival lasting as long as ten days with much feasting and entertainment. Animal sacrifices are made to ensure eternal life in the afterlife and to safeguard the descendants.
sumber : http://www.torajatreasures.com