Funeral rites for infants
Rante Pao Travel Blog› entry 16 of 25 › view all entries
We visited some more rock or cave graves today at Suaya. As it turned out the ones we saw yesterday at Lemo didn't have original statues - they had been replaced after being pillaged.
Moving on to something new and different, we visited the baby graves at Kambira and these proved to be most interesting:
- When babies die before having any teeth, they are not provided with normal funeral procedures but are put into tree trunks. They must be buried within hours.
- A hole is made in a trunk of a large tree (eg. mango or breadfruit). The dead baby is put into the hole in a foetal position and the hole is covered over by what seems to be bark fibre.
- The hole will grow over eventually and will have a normal bark in about 30 years.
- It will be taboo for family members to consume fruit from that tree.
In the afternoon we visited the megaliths at Bori:
- For the funeral ceremonies of important people, a humungous rock pillar or megalith is brought by hand from faraway places to the funeral grounds - this practice has not succumbed to motorised transport even today.
- We saw a freshly prepared grave that had been carved into a huge boulder. It had taken over two years to slowly chisel a perfectly formed room without any safety equipment such as masks or earmuffs.
By the way, the Toraja language has some similarities to Sarawak Malay (or even Tagalog). Chicken is manok instead of ayam, it is also sukun instead of dukun and asu instead of anjing!