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Home » Tana Toraja » Toraja's Social Life and Ritual Cycle

Toraja's Social Life and Ritual Cycle

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  1. Toraja

  2. Toraja 1

  3. Toraja 2

  4. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  5. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  6. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  7. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  8. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  9. Tongkonan

  10. Tongkonan

  11. Tongkonan

  12. Tongkonan

  13. Tongkonan

  14. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  15. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  16. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  17. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  18. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  19. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  20. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  21. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  22. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  23. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

 

Overview

According to myth, the original ancestor of the Toraja came down from heaven by way of a star-lit stairway to live in this beautiful part of earth.  This myth, told from generation to generation continues until today where the people of Toraja believe that the star- lit stairway down from heaven is a  media for people on earth to communicate with Puang Matua (The Only One True God).

The name Toraja was first given by the Bugis Sidenreng tribe who called them  the“Riaja” ("The people inhabiting the upper part of the mountains").While  the people of Luwu called them,“Riajang” (or "people inhabiting the west"). Another version says that ‘Toraya’ is coined from the word To (Tau= meaning people), and Raya (comes from the word Maraya = great). The two words together mean “great people”, or the nobility. Eventually, the term morphed into Toraja. The word “Tana” means land. Therefore Tana Toraja means the Land of the Nobility.  

In social life, the Toraja adhere to “aluk”, - elsewhere known as “adat” which are traditional beliefs, rules and rituals prescribed by the ancestors. Although today most Torajans are either Protestants or Catholics, the ancestral traditions rites and ceremonies continue to be practiced.

The Torajans make a clear separation between ceremonies and rites associated with life and those in connection with death, since these are closely linked to the agricultural rice planting and harvesting seasons.  

Funeral ceremonies may begin only when the last harvest is cleared and stored, which is normally in July, and is brought to a close before the sowing of the new rice seeds for the next harvest, usually starting September.  With the planting season come the ceremonies requesting for life, health and prosperity. The Toraja call these the cycle of smoke rising (rambu tuka) – associated with life, and smoke descending (rambu solo), associated with death.    

The Toraja live in small communities where married children leave the parental home and start a new community elsewhere. Children belong to both the mother’s and father’s lines. Nonetheless they all ascribe to one ancestral home, which is known as the “Tongkonan” from both father and mother’s line.  The Tongkonan is the home of the don or patriarch of aristocratic families. As Don or patriarch his main duty it is to maintain unity among families, villages and communities, and ensure that ancestral beliefs and traditions are adhered to.

At his death, therefore, an elaborate funeral ceremony must be held by the family, which has become the distinguished event marking the Toraja culture. However, since such ceremonies require quite a fortune, funerals do not take place immediately, but only months or years after the person’s death. Meanwhile the body is wrapped in cloths and kept in the ancestral home.  
The Tongkonan itself is an impressive large house topped with a saddle-shaped roof resembling the horns of the water buffalo - with its horns up at the front. This is unlike the Minangkabau house in West Sumatra, that has a similar saddle-shaped roof but is placed lengthwise. Roofs are made of palm or coconut leafs and the house’s wooden sides are beautifully decorated with distinct Toraja abstract and geometric designs in rich natural red, white and black. On its front supporting pillar are often placed a number of buffalo horns.  

The Tongkonan are often rebuilt and redecorated, not necessarily because they are in need of repair, but more to maintain prestige and influence of the ruling nobility in the area. The rebuilding of the Tongkonan will of course be accompanied by elaborate ceremonies that involve entire communities – not unlike funeral ceremonies, where relatives bring gifts of pigs and buffaloes   One requirement is the building of a tower, similar to the one made for funerals, but here the bamboo pillars point upward to the sky, while for funerals, the pointed bamboos are planted in the ground.

Following small ceremonies in the homes, rice seeds are taken from the granary, then pounded, not by hand, but for this first ceremony, women loosen their hair and pound the grain with their bare feet. Baskets of seeds are then brought to the flooded fields where they are sowed in nurseries. When the rice plants have grown sufficiently, a ceremony called maro is held, to implore for a good harvest, but moreover, also to request for fertility, for health and prosperity of the family and the village community. (Source: Periplus: Sulawesi, the Celebes)

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14-16

Nov 2014

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