Toraja Funeral Ceremony Rambu Solo Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

Toraja Funeral Ceremony Rambu Solo

Toraja people was have unique traditional ceremony thats its interesting to be seen, its called Rambu Solo. Rambu Solo is customary ritual death in Tana Toraja society that aims to respect the spirit and the people who deliver death to the spirit, which is returned to the immortality with their ancestors in a health resort, called Puyo, which is located in the south where people live. The ceremony is often also called the completion ceremony of death.

Therefore, local people consider this very important ceremony, because perfection ceremony will determine the position of this spirit is the person who died, the soul reaches the level of the gods (to-membali puang), or become a patron deity (deata). In this context, the ritual signs Solo into a "duty". In the beliefs of Aluk, soul of someone who died must be delivered so that he can reach heaven (puyo). Rambu Solo is a delivery. If family did not carry Rambu Solo, soul of the deceased will be rumble. So with all the power efforts, a certain kinship will conduct this ceremony.

If kinship do not have cost to implement them soon after death, they may collect money first. But before the funeral held, the dead considered as only a sick or weak. The body of the dead still keep it in the house, they embalm, still given food and drink, even ask the dead to talk as always, sometimes staying at home for years until they can afford a proper send off.

The funeral was determined by social status of the family who died, measured by the number of animals sacrificed. More and more high social status of people who died, the great ritual has to be held. The large ceremony was measured from number of animals slaughtered. A noble kinship will slaughter between 24 up to 100 buffalos. Middle status will slaughter eight buffalos and 50 pigs enough.

The reason that the buffalo sacrifice is so important is that the Toraja people believe the buffalo leads the deceased on to their afterlife. Right before the buffalo is killed, the body is turned to face south. They believe the body must be facing south when the buffalo dies so they can travel together to their next life. Once the buffalo sacrifices have occurred, the body is then ready to be buried. Buffalo in Indonesia are very expensive and it can sometimes take the family a long time to raise the money to throw a proper funeral.

When the funeral will held, people of Tana Toraja focus all of their time and money on funerals for their loved ones, the funeral preparations spend cost a fortune, thats why some paople say that Tana Toraja is one of the most expensive places to die. Most of the people at Toraja are Christian, but they mix many of their cultural believes with Christianity. When someone in a family dies, that person is given a big party at their house. Bamboo structures are built, seating areas are made, and the homes literally turn into compounds to support visitors of the dead. Family and friends come, usually bearing gifts for the family, and are welcomed with tea, coffee and biscuits. The funeral lasts all day (with the burial happening the day after) and the main event is the slaughtering of a buffalo. The number of buffalo a family slaughters shows their social status and how much money they have. At some small funerals, only a few buffalo are sacrificed, while at large ones, there can be up to 100 killed over the course of a few days. Live pigs are also given as gifts to the family and those are killed as well and grilled up in the back to feed all of the guests.

In addition, there are also various cultural atraction on view, among them suach as : buffalo fight (mappasilaga tedong), the buffalo to be sacrificed will be fight before slice; and compete feet (sisemba).

Various interesting activities are held during the ceremony of Rambu Solo are :

  • Mapasilaga tedong (buffalo fighting). Competed buffalo in Toraja has unique characteristics horns curved down or crusted striped called tedong bonga. This type of water buffalo (babalus bubalis: mud buffalo) is endemic species in Tana Toraja.
  • Sisemba. People compete their foot or leg each other.
  • Dances ritus of Rambu Solo, namely ma'badong, ma'dondi, ma'randing, ma'katia, ma'papanggan, and massailo. On ma'badong, guests were standing around while holding onto hands. Then they sing and dance together. Strain of their song describes the sadness.
  • Instrumental music called pa'pompang, pa'dalidali and unnosong.
  • Matinggoro tedong (slaughter the buffalo). How to slaughter the buffalo on this ceremony is unique, cut the neck with a single swing of chopper. Buffalo is first tethered on a stone called simbuang batu. Buffalo butcher (patinggoro tedong) swing the chopper in a moment.

At the peak of the event, ma'balun ritual is held, (enwrap the corpse), ma'roto (set of gold and silver thread ornaments on the chest), ma'parokko alang (to mow down the corpse to be buried), and ma'palao (bring the corpse to the funeral). When corpse is delivered, red cloth spread out cover the family.

Each funeral is carried out in two parts: the first ceremony (dipalambi'i) occurs just after death in the tongkonan house. The second and larger ceremony may occur months or even years after the death.

Nowdays the ceremony has become a magnet custom tour of South Sulawesi Province and eastern Indonesia. Tana Toraja is known to foreign tourists since 1960. Tourism information from Tana Toraja rituals that are unmatch in the world. Rambu Solo ritual is the traditional funeral ceremony ancestors with Sapu Randanan, and Tombi Saratu. In addition well known as MaNene ceremonial rites and Rambu Tuka. Ceremony Rambu Solo and Rambu Tuka accompanied by dance and music typical Toraja for days. Rambu Tuka is customary ceremony into a new house called Tongkonan or a complete renovation the house once in 50 or 60 years.

This ceremony reflects the life of Toraja people who like mutual help, familial, have social strata, and respect their parents, fammily and ancestor. About buffalo race, on one side of a tourist attraction, but on the other side, especially buffalo Bule (Tedong Bonga) the cut will accelerate the extinction of the buffalo. Moreover, including the Bonga Tedong mud buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) which is a species found only in Toraja.

Visiting the funeral while in the area is the best way to see the culture up close. You may think, isn’t that invasive going to a funeral of someone you don’t know, but the people in the area are very used to tourists coming and welcome them as regular guests like everyone else.


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