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Although the aluk religion the way of the ancestors states that only a noble person should be celebrated with a death feast, it has become an integral part of all funeral ceremonies now, with the exception of ceremonies for children and low-status adults..
Image c Sergey via Flickr Creative Commons These festivities can run for 2 days or up to 2 weeks depending on the status of the deceased. Cave Burials This is the cave burial site of Londa — and if you look closely you can just make out the coffin hanging from just above the center of the cliff side.
The deceased is traditionally buried in a hollowed out cliffside grave that sometimes are as high as 30 meters off the ground. These caves have been hollowed by specialists, who carried out the work without the use of harnesses or safety nets, in exchange for very little pay or sometimes, a couple of buffalo.
Generally, the higher up the body is buried, the higher the deceased status in society, and whom had been buried with symbols of their wealth such as gold.
The bodies were deliberately placed in hard to reach places to discourage grave robbing. This sometimes included hanging the coffin from the side of the cliff where it remained until the ropes snapped or coffin disintegrated and the remains fell to the ground.
Generally speaking, the lower your status in the family, the lower in the cave you were buried, but this is always above ground. This is because the Torjans believe that the earth represents the mother, who gives life through the land, and to bury bodies in the ground would, in essence, defile that purity.
On our visit to Tana Toraja we visited one of these cave grave sites known as Londa. It is unique in that is has two burial sites within the one cave and can be entered by tourists. Outside the cave entrance you can hire a local guide with a lamp who can take you inside the cave and tell you about the history of the residents.
The Death of Children Babies and young children, who have not yet grown teeth at the point of their death are not buried in the manner described above, but rather are wrapped in cloth and placed into a hollowed-out tree trunk and then covered with a palm fiber door.
They do this out of great respect for the dead and often re-inter them with money, cigarettes or clothes or other things! The Torajans are happy to welcome visitors to the festivities believing having international visitors in attendance will increase their status in society.
Get in touch with the Torajan Tourism Board prior to your visit and they will help point you in the right direction of various celebrations going on in the region.
From either of these you will be required to take a short domestic flight to Makassar in South Sulawesi, from which you then have two options: Internal flight to Palopo approx 40 mins followed by a 2. Search flights here.
Some buses have air conditioning but not all have toilets. download your tickets here.
The rooms have been built in the style of a traditional Tongkonan and are tastefully decorated inside. This was traditionally held at the home, but today it usually takes place at a Buddhist temple wat.
Such rites are usually held for three, five or seven consecutive days.
Sometimes, this will be held after waiting a certain period e. Merit-making rites are also held at 7, 50 and days after death. These most often take the form of royally sponsored cremations or burials granted in the form of royal flames or burial soil and royally bestowed bathing water. Funerals of senior Buddhist clergy and government officials[ edit ] Government officials and distinguished armed forces and police personnel, as well as religious leaders, usually lie in state in Wat Ratchanatdaram or in other major Bangkok Buddhist temples as well as in major provincial temples.
While the lying-in-state for government officials and retired military and police personnel last from either 2 weeks to 5—7 months, the lying-in-state for senior members of the Buddhist clergy can last from 6—8 months to two years, with Buddhist services led by monks with prayers made while using the pha yong or memorial ribbon attached to the urn held 3 to 4 times a day with chanting by 4 monks for lay funerals or 8 for clergical funerals also being performed.
If necessary the Flag of Thailand is lowered to half-mast. When the day mark for state funerals is reached, special commemorative books, pamphlets, and flyers containing Buddhist doctrines and on the funeral service are commissioned and special services are held. Once everything is set for cremation as per Buddhist and Hindu customs, the cremation proper begins with one final late-night service for the decreased officially kicking off the cremation services.
The funeral procession is held from the temple or funeral hall towards the nearest crematorium.