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The picturesque mountainous region of South Sulawesi, in Indonesia, is home to an ethnic group called the Toraja. A large number of its members live in the regency of Tana Toraja or "the Land of Toraja" at the center of the island of Sulawesi, 300 km north of Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi. These simple people who practise animism – the view that all non-human entities such as animals, plants, and even inanimate objects or phenomena possess a spiritual essence, have developed some of the most elaborate funeral rites in the world. These include tree burials reserved for infants who died before teething, and parading of mummies who died decades ago.

Toraja funeral rites are important social events and occasions for entire families to gather, and for villagers to participate in communal events, renewing relationships and reconfirming beliefs and traditions in the way of the ancestors. These events last for several days.


A tree of baby graves in a village in Tana Toraja. Photo credit

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.


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