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Tana Toraja and Torajan People

  For many people, a funeral is a time of great sadness, but not for Torajan people of the central South Sulawesi. For them, a funeral is an important event and a time for celebrations. The Torajan's, who have their own religion, believe that after we die, our soul will became angry and jealous if we do not perform special funeral ceremonies for the dead person. If the ceremonies are not performed it will bring bad luck. That is why many of the Torajan people today still do ancient funeral ceremonies.
  Sometimes Torajan is not burried immediately after death. the dead body is preserved in a special way in a coffin and kept in the house until the family is ready to perform yhe special ceremony. This maybe two or three years after the person's death. Until the time of the funeral ceremony, the person is thought of as a sick person. When the time comes for the funeral, the coffin is taken out of the house, wrapped in beautiful cloth, and placed inside a special structure, which is built to carry the coffin. It is shape like Torajan house, with a beautiful pointed roof. Near by a carved wooden statue of the dead person sits waiting to be carried with the coffin to the burial place. This statue is called Tau-Tau. Now the village people dance around the Tau-Tau and the coffin, singing ancient Torajan funeral songs. Later the coffin will be buried. Often this is a hole high up in the side of a cliff. When the coffin reaches the burial place there are many more dances and ceremonies. Bulls and pigs are killed. The Torajans believe that this will make the soul of the dead person more pure. These ceremonies often last several days. Finally the coffin is carried up to the burial place in the side of the cliff. The coffin is placed in the hole and the Tau-Tau is placed in front of it.
  Today thousands of tourist from all over the world visit Sulawesi to visit Tana Toraja (the land of the Torajans) to see and learn about these interesting people with their ancient and unusual ceremonies and beliefs.

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