Burial Rituals of the Torajan Ethnic Group from Indonesia

Topics: Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, Burial Pages: 3 (964 words) Published: November 10, 2010
As we know, there are many ethnic group in Indonesia. They are our valuable heritage. One of them is Toraja ethnic in South Sulawesi. The word toraja comes from the Bugis language's to riaja, meaning "people of the uplands". The Dutch colonial government named the people Toraja in 1909. Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days. Toraja has many uniqueness which are cannot be found in other place in the world like the unique history, strategic location, rock grave yard, burial process, and attractive .

Before the 20th century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert Torajan highlanders to Christianity. When the Tana Toraja regency was further opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it became an icon of tourism in Indonesia: it was exploited by tourism developers and studied by anthropologists. By the 1990s, when tourism peaked, Toraja society had changed significantly, from an agrarian model in which social life and customs were outgrowths of the Aluk To Dolo to a largely Christian society. The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi (Sulawesi Selatan Province), Indonesia. It is 350 kilometers or about 210 miles from Makassar by the sea to Tana Toraja in the high mountains. The drive takes 8 hours but there are many stops along the way to see bamboo processing, a simple native home, local snack stops, to try sticky rice candy and not purchase dried fish preserved with formaline; lunch stops and scenic mountain view stops. All along the way, our extremely knowledgeable, warm, interested guide Rusli Amin taught us about the...
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