The Tana Toraja, also known as ‘The Land of the heavenly kings” is the mountain area situated about 300 km north of Makassar in the island of Sulawesy, Indonesia.
The land of the Toraja people is famous for its spectacular burial rites. Althought the Toraja are Christian, they still mantain their animist beliefs. For them, life revolves around death, due to the fact that they see death as a great celebration of lile.
When a person dies, the body is kept until the money for the funeral has been raised, and sometimes this can take years. The funeral takes the form of a festival, with food, dances and bufaloe fights. It can take up to a week. The most impressive and important day is when the bufaloes and pigs get sacrificed, being slaughtered and then cut in pieces to be offered to the guests, slaughtering the soul of the deceased to the afterlife (puya). The deceased is then finally buried in caves.
These funeral customs have been practicee over many centuries and are known as the most complex traditions in the world.
The biggest funerals are held in the months of July and August.
These complex rituals are unique to Sulawesy‘s inhabitants. Their faces, their smiles and their hospitality definitely captures the attention of visitors.