Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

- An ethnic group from Indonesia gathers their loved ones’ corpses every 3 years to wash and dress them with new clothes as part of the Ma’nene festival

- The people from Torajan has high regards to life after death that’s why even funerals was an extravagant festivity for them

- They would sacrifice buffalos and wrap the corpses with layers of clothes to prevent decay

Filipinos flock to cemeteries with their candles and flowers every November 1st. While in Mexico, they perform a play called ‘Don Juan Tenorio’ as tradition.

It’s natural that different parts of the world would practice their own customs in an act to show homage to their late loved ones. But it looks like, none of them can compare to how unique an ethnic group from Indonesia pay their respects.

The Torajan people who reside in the mountains of Sulawi would gather the corpses of their loved ones every three years and participate in the Ma’nene festival.

Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

Aside from washing the corpses, they would also dress it with a new set of clothes. (Photo credit: Sijori Images)

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During ‘The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses,’ each family would wash and dress up the decaying bodies of their elders. They will also have the chance to have their pictures taken together with the family of the deceased to commemorate the special day.

Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

The family members of the dead can take photos with the dead as a sign of respect and love. (Photo credit: Sijori Images)

Their tribe, which was discovered by Dutch missionaries in 1970, has a high regard for the deceased because they believe in the afterlife. As long as the corpse remains inside their house, they treat it as a person with illness. They would even offer food and include the lifeless body in their prayers.

Even during funerals, the middle class in the society could bury its dead for months. As for those who belong in a prominent family, they are allowed keep the body for years and bury it with many layers of clothes to slow down the decay.

Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

The villagers don’t fear the dead because of their respect for their ancestors. (Photo credit: Sijori Images)

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Instead of a gloomy festival, buffalos were butchered as sacrifice. They believe it will serve as the carrier of the soul from life to death.

Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

Villagers were thankful for their ancestors who gave them life. (Photo credit: Sijori Images)

Another belief of the Torajans made few of the villagers travel because they were afraid of dying away from home. According to them, a spirit should always come back from where it was born. In case someone dies outside the village, his family will travel in order to bring his body back.

Indonesian tribe digs up its corpses for festival

The corpses were delicately handled. (Photo credit: Sijori Images)

When inquired about their unusual customs, they insisted that the love they hold for their relatives can beat any of their fears. More than anything, it was a culture that made them unique.

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The tradition started when an animal hunter found a decaying body while trekking about a hundred years ago. He dressed the corpse and gave it a proper funeral which the village observes until today.

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