Here, Living With Dead Bodies For Week-Or Years-Is Tradition

Here, Living With Dead Bodies For Week-Or Years-Is Tradition

There are many rituals and cultural events in different parts of the world that often leave us in wonder. And here's a practice that the people of Toraja, Indonesia, follow, that you might never have imagined.

Once every three years, their deceased loved ones are taken out of their coffins, cleaned, and dressed in new clothes to commemorate their lives. This ritual is known as Ma'nene, and it is one of the most heart-touching festivities for the Torajans to stay connected to their close ones for a long time, even after their death.

The corpses are excluded from their tombs, groomed, and dressed in new outfits. They smell mildew, but the smell is not foul. Some wear sunglasses and jeans, others are delicately beaded white satin dresses and bejeweled earrings.

Sometimes young man puts a lit cigarette in his dead relative's mouth. It's surreal to watch the "smoke" corpse.

The Torajan people on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are treating the corpses as an essential part of the family.

People on the island believe that after death, the spirits of their closed ones remain close and deserve care. They offer them food, water, and even cigarettes.

After a person has died, family members and relatives use preservatives to mummify the body and slow down the process of decomposition so that they can excavate it after three years. In the old days, the bodies were wiped with tea and embalmed using a mixture of herbs. Today a family member injects three liters of formaldehyde.

Before the ritual of the burial is performed, they are called to Makula', or just sick, not yet dead. Toraja’s people highly respect their dead.” And then the process of burial begins with the sacrifice of buffaloes and bulls. The Torajans then use their horns to decorate the home of the dead.

The deceased are mummified and housed in ornate, colorful coffins and spend several months or even years in their own homes before receiving a funeral and burial, in order to give the family of the deceased time to raise enough money for the feast.

Many families go deeply into debt in order to hold an extravagant funeral ceremony.

In the time before burial, relatives talk to the deceased, offer them food and drink, and involve them in family gatherings, as if they are still alive.

Also, the bodies are usually buried in wooden coffins inside the rock tombs, instead of the grounds. Decreased children are kept in the hollows of the trees. People wrap their bodies in multiple layers of clothing to prevent them from decaying.

It may seem strange to the outside world but Torajans are completely at home among the dead. Death is far less definitive here than in other cultures.

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