Indonesian tribe digs up the dead for an eerie annual ritual

The Toraja tribe in South Sulawesi, Indonesia holds an annual celebration for the dead.

During this celebration, the Indonesian tribe digs up the dead, cleans the corpses and dresses them up in new clothes – some even give them cigarettes to smoke. This centuries-old celebration is known as the Ma’Nene Festival and this roughly translates to ‘The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses’. According to the Daily Mail, the Indonesian population is predominantly Muslim but the Toraja tribe consists of mostly Protestant Christians. Nevertheless, despite their Christian faith and beliefs, the tribe still adheres to the Ma’Nene tradition.

Source: Daily Mail

On this day, the families of the deceased take pictures with their corpses.

Lad Bible believes that this is a good way to look at death and remember the deceased. What is more, it is interesting to note that it is estimated that there are around a million Torajan people in Indonesia who are heavily concentrated in South Sulawesi and the majority believe that the soul of the deceased remains in the house after the body’s death.

Source: Daily Mail

Before their funeral, the deceased person’s body is kept in the house for a long period of time.

While it may seem out of the ordinary, in Indonesia, the dead are kept in the house for weeks and months after they have died. During this period of time, they are also treated as if they are alive; this means that they are fed and spoken to until the day of their funeral. Sometimes, the deceased’s body is not buried immediately – this usually happens when their relatives have lost them unexpectedly. Keeping the deceased in the house allows them to come to terms with the death before burying them. According to Lad Bible, all of this is ‘rooted in the belief that a person’s death is just one more step in their journey through the universe as a whole’. After all, every culture deals with death and grief in their own, special ways. Plus, let’s not forget that in Victorian England, postmortem photography was practiced to ease the grief and commemorate the dead too!

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