Life after death by Torajan : Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

Life after death by Torajan : Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

Gives you some background. Muslim is the major population in Indonesia but in Toraja, It’s about 80% Christian population living and the diversify of religion create happiness and tolerant.

Toraja located in high altitude provides the coco, coffee and rice fields playing a main economic role. These type of agricultural economy is enable the Death Ritual become famous since 500 years ago.

During those decades, Torajan will buried the body inside the rice fields. But after a year, the plantation of agricultural is getting worse.

Hence, every leaders of Torajan got a meeting to figure out the issue. They think that the god is protect all the mother land and dislike Torajan to buried dead body on the ground as this will dirty the body of the god.

So they decided to buried the body on the highest place. Toraja is surrounded by the hill and they are trying to find some hill and chisel a hole to place the coffin. After that, all the plantation is getting better year by year.

For Torajan, Dead doesn’t mean a people pass away but change another style to continue their life, they are not avoid the death. Especially a place name Pangala, northern part of Toraja, they still practising Ma’nene, they will help their ancestor to change a new clothes.


In Toraja, the funeral differentiate by 4 categories , each will follow by the family level.

The minimum requirement to run a funeral is 4 buffalo. It were represent the transportation to bring their ancestors to the heaven. And they also can share the buffalo to villagers or neighbours after the funeral.

But for poor family. They are unable to buy the 4 buffalo, so they change it to another way, they will go to pig farm to knock and hit the fence for several times, represent they kill the pig as buffalo.

Beside buffalo, they also sacrifice pigs and dogs, every level of the family will increase the unit. Maximum is 24.


During my visit in 2017,  the funeral are the chief couples of the village. They were pass away in a month but practise the funeral on the same day .

Follow by the traditional of Toraja, the family members have to discuss the funeral to get the consensus.

But before the funeral, they still treat the dead body as normal person such as greetings, morning call or else.