“Tana Toraja is one of the regions in Indonesia which has gotten international attention and has become one of the
most attractive tourist destinations in Sulawesi Island. Those facts are caused by not only the beauty of its nature, but
also the richness of its culture. Tator (stands for Tana Toraja; a popular name given by the tourists) is located in South
Sulawesi and possessed total population around 450,000 people. Toraja Tribe lives around mountain area with
various cultures that they have. One of its culture which has been very famous for a long time is the unique funeral
tradition called Rambu Solo.
The people of Toraja Tribe believe in “Aluk to dollo” or a custom in form of strict traditional beliefs, rules, and rituals
which had been set by their ancestors. Although now the majority of Toraja people are Catholic or Protestant, the
traditions and rituals of their ancestors are still done until now. In the procession of Rambu Solo, Toraja people
believe if the funeral is not held then the spirit of the deceased will create disaster or misfortune to the people that
he/she left. The deceased will be treated as a sick people so the body will be taken care and supposed alive. The body
is even served with foods, beverages, cigarettes, or betel leaves (traditional snack for its people) Among the people of
Toraja, funeral is the most important and expensive ceremony. The richer/more honorable you are, the more
expensive your funeral cost will be. In Aluk religion, only the noble families could have a glorious funeral. The
funeral of a noble is usually attended by thousands of people and could take place in a few days.
A place for the funeral procession which is called rante is usually set on a spacious field because it will be functioned
as the place for the visitors, rice barn, and other ceremony equipments which are made by the family. The sound of
flute, song, poem, cry, and mourn are the expressions of grief that the Toraja Tribe show in the funeral. However, all
of these things are not doable in the funeral of children, poor people, and low class people.
This funeral ceremony sometimes could take weeks, months, or even years after the death, so that the family could
collect enough money for completing all the procession in the ceremony. Toraja Tribe believes that death is not a
sudden phenomenon, but a gradual process to reach Puya (the world of spirit or hereafter). In that waiting phase, the
body is covered by some clothes and put under the Tongkonan (Traditional House of Toraja). The spirit of the
deceased is believed still staying in the village until the ceremony is all done. After that, this spirit will start his/her
journey to the Puya.
The procession of Rambu Solo which is become the most attractive part for both local and foreign tourists is the
buffalo slaughter (Ma‟tinggoro Tedong) which slaughter more than hundred buffalo for this ceremony. The more
honorable a person, the more buffalo he/she slaughters. The slaughter is done by using Golok or traditional razor.
The dead bodies including its head of the buffalo are arranged on the field waiting for its owner who is still in the
“deep sleep.” Uniquely, the process of cutting down the neck of a buffalo is using golok in only one swing. This is the
typical attraction of Tana Toraja people.
Toraja Tribe believes that the spirit of the deceased needs buffalo for doing trip to Puya, and will be faster if there are
more buffalos. The slaughter of buffalos and also pigs are the main procession of funeral ceremony which is
completed by music and dance of the youths who try to catch the gush of the blood using a long bamboo. Some of the
meat will be given to the guests and then noted because it will be reputed as a debt to the deceased‟s family. In the
belief of Tana Toraja People there is a principle that said: the higher the place for a body, the faster his spirit will reach
nirvana. Actually, there are three ways of funeral: the coffin is put inside a cave, in carved stone grave, or hanged on
the cliff. Rich people are usually buried in a carved stone grave which is very expensive and need a month to be
finished. In some region, a rocky cave is used as the place to save all the bodies of family. Usually, a wooden statue
which is called “Tau Tau” is put in the cave facing outside. The coffins of babies or children are hanged on the cliff
using ropes. The ropes usually wore out after a year and then broke, resulting the coffin falls onto the ground.
Besides “Rambu Solo” Ceremony, there is also
another unique ceremony in Tana Toraja which is
done by Baruppu, in the inland of North Toraja.
The ritual of Ma’nene‟ is done once in 3 years and
is usually done in August before harvest to repel
pests and wish for prosperity at the same time. The
uniqueness of this ceremony is the embalmed
bodies of these people‟s ancestors which have been
saved inside the coffin for a long time will be taken
out and then dressed like a normal human. After
recited with prayers, this body will be taken from
the coffin and started to be cleaned
from head to toe using brush or clean cloth. After
that, the body then dressed like a living human and
sung by the family before lied down again inside
They treat the body as if still alive and remain part
of the family. Ritual Ma „Nene‟ by society Baruppu
regarded as a manifestation of their love for their
ancestors, figures and relatives who had died. They
remain hopeful, ancestral spirits to keep them from
malicious interference, crop pests, as well as
misfortune of living. Where the origins of ritual Ma
„Nene‟ in Baruppu? The story passed down
through generations mention, in the past lies the
animal a hunter named Pong Rumasek.
While hunting in the forests of the mountains Balla, instead of finding the forest animals, he instead discovered the
body of someone who has long passed away. The corpse was lying under the trees, abandoned, living bones. Feeling
pity, Pong Rumasek then take care of the corpse could. Bones wrapped it with the clothes he was wearing, then
placed in a spacious area and feasible. After that, Pong Rumasek continue the hunt.
No warning, since the incident, every time Pong Rumasek hunt, he always obtain great results. Animals were herded
into the forest as if he was. Not only that, when he gothome, Pong Rumasek rice found in rice fields was already
yellow ing, spirited and ready to be harvested before their time..
Pong Rumasek regard, all the fortune was earned thanks to the compassion he showed when treating nameless
bodies found during the hunt.
Since then, Pong Baruppu Rumasek and community bodies to glorify their ancestors, figures and relatives with a
ceremony Ma „Nene‟.
In the ritual Ma „Nene‟ there is also an unwritten rule that binds citizens. For example, if a wife or husband dies, the
bereaved spouse must not remarry before holding Ma „Nene‟ for him.
When Ma „Nene‟ was held, the nomads Baruppu origin are scattered all over the country will return home in honor of
ancestors. Residents Baruppu believe, if Ma „Nene‟ is not held then the ancestors will also be spared to keep them.
Disaster will hit, the disease will befall the people, rice fields and garden will not produce rice that pithy and lush