Enchanting Toraja on South Sulawesi

South Sulawesi

South Sulawesi is one of Indonesia Provinces that lies on Sulawesi Island. Makassar is the capital of this province that was called as Ujung Pandang.

The local inhabitant that stay in South Sulawesi is dominated by Bugis and Makassar people, but Toraja ethnic is the indigenous ethnic people from South Sulawesi. Islam is the religion that most people in South Sulawesi hold, except in Toraja that mostly have Christian as their religion or they still have their animist belief known as Aluk, meaning “the way”. The Indonesian government has recognized this animist belief as Aluk Todolo (“Way of the Ancestors”)

Torajan are still living on mountainous range, based on their name meaning on Bugis language, “to riaja” referred to “people of the uplands”. Torajan cultural initiation that popular is about their funeral rite of bury the death people. They placed the death people on carved into rocky cliff. The carve is symbolizing the death person called Tau-tau. Tau-tau is made from jack fruit wood, strong wood, and to cut this timber, must be done with traditional ceremony of Toraja, while the eyes of Tau-tau is made of the bone and buffalo horn.

In Toraja society, the funeral ritual is such an expensive event that being held to “good-Bye” the death person.The richer and more powerful the individual, the more expensive is the funeral. In the Aluk religion, only nobles have the right to have an extensive death feast which usually attended by thousand people and being held for weeks, months or even years.

Before 20th Century, the Torajan are lived in autonomous villages, where they practices animism and being untouchable from outside the society.
On early 1900s, the Dutch missionaries was converted the Torajan highlanders to Christianity. After 1970s, Toraja was opened to the outside world and became the icon of Indonesia Tourism.

Hence, the tourism destination from South Sulawesi is mostly coming from Toraja Land concerning the historical site of Torajan complete with their celebration, initiation, art, cultural things and the way of living.

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