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Photographer's Note

Tana Toraja deep in the mountains of South Sulawesi is a beautiful place known for its unique culture and ancient traditions. The funerals are the most spectacular and important of Torajan rituals. They are held often months or even years after death, once the family has accumulated enough wealth to ensure a great send off for the deceased.

Torajans believe the deceased will need all the requisites of everyday life in the hereafter just like when he or she was alive in this world.

Funerals in Toraja (at which any guests are most welcome) are really festivals lasting a number of days and involve much feasting and entertainment. Animal sacrifices - of pigs and particularly of highly valued buffaloes, are made to feed the hundreds of guests and also to ensure life in the afterlife and good fortune for the survivors. At large funerals for dignitaries, dozens of animals may be sacrificed.

I am sorry if this is a little gruesome for some tastes - but such sacrifices are right at the centre of a very rich culture.

wanderlust, AbdullahCharsee has marked this note useful

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