The Funeral Ceremony of Toraja Land
Pesta Tomate or the funeral ceremony in Toraja society is one of most important rituals. This ritual procession held to send the spirit of the death person to the Puya, the afterworld properly to avoid misfortune for the family.
In Toraja word, a dead person called Tomate. Without proper ritual arrangement of the funeral, the spirit of the deceased can cause misfortune to its family. And of the most important ritual is the animal sacrifice. The animal sacrifice in funeral ceremoniesÂ is the main key of the Funeral Ceremony it self. They believe that this sacrifice is to ensure eternal life in the afterlife and to safeguard the descendants.
In the Funeral Ceremony location, the deceased will be placed at the high-roofed tower constructed at one and of the field within the ceremony area. At a funeral, bamboo pavilions are also constructed around the field for the family and guests.
The Torajan generally have two kind funerals ceremony, one is before the burrial or for the burrial, second funeral is could be years after burrial day. This called as Ma’Nene Ceremony or the ceremony of cleaning corpses. The souls of the dead can only go to Puya, the afterworld, when the entire rituals has been completed.
They believe the soul of the deceased will ride the souls of the slaughtered buffaloes and pigs to Puya, the afterworld. The buffalo has traditionally been a symbol of wealth and power and even land could be paid for in buffaloes. After the guest display their presents of pigs and buffaloes, the traditional Mabadong song and dance is performed. This is a ceremonial re-enactment of the cycle of human life and the life story of the deceased. It also farewell to the soul of the deceased, and rely the hope that the soul will arrive in the afterworld safely.
Every August each year, a ritual called Ma’Nene (Cleaning Corpses Ceremony) are takes place, and then Family members of the deceased exhuming their ancestors bodies by washed, groomed and change their clothes. The mummies are then walked around the village by followingÂ a straight lines path. Following the straight lines is consider important part of the ceremony. According to the myth, these lines are connected with Hyang, a spiritual entity with supernatural power. As this entity only move in straight lines, the soul of the deceased body must follow the path of Hyang.
According to the ancient Torajan belief system, the spirit of a dead person must return to his village of origin. So if a person died on a journey, the family would go to the place of death and accompany the deceased back home by walking them back to the village. In the past, people were frightened to journey far, in case they died while they were away and were unable to return to their village.