A Funeral for the Ages
Rantepao Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
August 28th, 2008 – by: vidalibre
It isn't until the family has saved enough money that they can hold the funeral ceremony and finally say goodbye to their loved one. They require this money to prepare everything from the funeral site, to the burial, to clothing worn by the mourners, and also to purchase the sacrificial animals.
While a funeral doesn't seem like such a costly expense to us in the western world, a ceremony of this magnitude (up to 5 days) can cost a family many more times than what they earn in a single year. Consider that the albino buffalo, at least 5 of which were sacrificed at the funeral I attended, can cost as much as US$10,000 at a local market. So families must save for years in preparation for their own funerals. Then the family must pool all of its resources together and save for as long as it takes to do the funeral in a proper manner.
You're probably asking why they have felt the need to accompany death with more death. The Tana Toraja, who have been converted to Christianity over the years, are still animists at heart. They believe that the spirit of the deceased is not truly dead until they have performed this ceremony. The animals are sacrificed in order to accompany and protect the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife. The funeral is the final tribute to a loved one, so obviously the bigger the funeral, the more respect paid to a family member.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!