Sulawesi An adventure travel destination

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Sulawesi is one of the most interesting destinations in Indonesia. It’s known for its world-class scuba diving, but inland adventures are just as rewarding.

For example, Toraja land is a mountainous region of South Sulawesi. There are about 650,000 Torajans. Most of them still live in Tana Toraja (Toraja land).

Prior to the 20th century, the Torajans were largely untouched by the outside world. Dutch missionaries converted many Torajans to Christianity in the early 1900s. In the 1990s, Torajan society and culture evolved rapidly. Many Torajans still follow traditional beliefs, called aluk.

Aluk is a combination of law, religion and life. It governs social life, agricultural practices and ancient rituals. Practices vary from village to village.

The Torajans grow rice and raise buffalo. Like most Indonesians, they balance work and religion on a daily basis.

Harvest festivals and housewarming parties are times for clan celebration and gathering. They wear their best costumes and jewels and drink tuak (a local beer). The holidays last for days.

The family is the main social and political grouping in Toraja society. Each village is an extended family, headquartered in the tongkonan, a traditional Toraja house. Each Tongkonan has a name, which becomes the village name.

There were once three social classes: nobles, commoners, and slaves (slavery was abolished in 1909 by the Dutch East Indies government). The class was inherited from the mother. It was taboo, therefore, for a man to marry in class. On the other hand, marrying an upper-class woman could improve the status of the next generation.

The nobles lived in Tongkonans, while the common people lived in bamboo huts. Slaves lived in even smaller huts. Some nobles married nobles from other island cultures, including Bugis and Makassarese nobles. Common people and slaves were forbidden to hold funeral feasts. A marriage or change of wealth could affect an individual’s status. Wealth is counted from the ownership of water buffaloes.

Slaves in Toraja society were family property. Sometimes the Torajans decided to become slaves when they incurred a debt, pledging to work as payment. Slaves could be taken during warfare and the slave trade was common. Slaves could buy their freedom, but their children still inherited slave status. Slaves were forbidden to wear bronze or gold, carve their houses, eat from the same dishes as their owners, or have sex with non-slaves.

Among the so-called commoners, Toraja society is very community-oriented. Families help each other on the farm, share buffalo rituals and pay off debts.

The Toraja ethnic language is known as Sa’dan Toraja. While Indonesian There are many different types of dialects available in Tana Toraja, including Kalumpang, Mamasa, Tae’, Talondo’, Toala’ and Toraja-Sa’dan. These dialects are derivatives of the Malayo-Polynesian language.

Pain is an important theme in the Toraja language. The language contains many terms that refer to sadness, longing, depression, and mental pain. They believe that communicating and sharing emotions is part of kinship and healing.

In Torajaland they eat rice with every meal. If there is enough money to buy the vegetables at the market, or if the family grows them at home, they are eaten together with the rice. Chickens are occasionally killed and eaten. After the funeral or other ceremonies, there is usually pork or buffalo meat. Fruit trees, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, bananas, are part of every community.

Pork, chicken and fish are cooked for about an hour in a bamboo tube over an open fire. Chicken bamboo is made of sliced ​​bamboo, chicken pieces, ginger, onion, garlic and ground coconut. Pork and fish bamboo is made of meat, green vegetables, onion and garlic. Vegetables are always peeled and cooked before eating. In Torajan culture, they usually eat with their hands. Traditionally, men and women don’t eat together. The women and girls serve the men and boys first, and after they have finished eating, the women and girls eat. Even the guests are always served first. Traditional bowls are made of wood.

In Torajan culture, people perform dances on different occasions. Torajans dance and sing during harvest time to celebrate the annual event. A dance is performed while the Torajans are pounding the rice. There are several war dances performed by men, followed by a similar performance by the women. The aluk religion rules when and how the Torajans dance. A sacred dance called the Ma’bua can only be performed once every 12 years. In the Ma’bua performance, priests don a buffalo head and dance around a sacred tree. A traditional Toraja musical instrument is a bamboo flute, which is played in many dances.

In Toraja culture, everything is shared, including food, clothing and money. Once you are in the community, you have to share what you have. At the same time, people will share everything with you. There is no such thing as privacy. Everyone knows everything about everyone. The community and the family are more important than the individual. Whatever money a family member earns, they have to share it with the rest of the family. The children who make money share it with their family members.

Tuak is a local alcoholic drink made from the fermented sap of a palm tree. Tuak, it’s extremely crude, but it works.

In the past, parents arranged most of the weddings. People were not allowed to marry someone from another caste. Now, some marriages are still arranged, but marriages based on love are much more common. Although marriage between members of different castes is allowed, it is still not common, due to the economic factor. Traditionally, the husband’s family had to give the bride’s family a certain number of buffaloes. During wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom should look as serious as possible. After the wedding, the couple live in the wife’s village. Women own the houses.

Animals are a symbol of wealth. The Torajans work to have as many chickens, pigs and water buffaloes as possible. Chickens are treated as pets. They are pampered and carried around. Goldfish and ducks are raised in the rice fields. The dogs run free and protect the village from strangers. The cats live in the kitchen to keep the mice away.

Torajans have a very unique burial ceremony called lonely signs. In aluk beliefs, the dead must be prepared and buried properly to reach heaven. Without the rambu solo ceremony, the soul of the deceased is lost. Until the funeral is held, the dead are treated as if they were simply sick or weak. The family keeps the body at home. Though embalmed, they still give food and drink to the deceased. Some corpses are kept for years until the family can afford a solo rambu ceremony.

Funerals are a reflection of welfare status, and welfare status requires the sacrifice of animals for the funeral of the deceased. A noble family will slaughter up to 100 buffaloes when a family member dies. Middle-class families will slaughter eight buffaloes and 50 pigs.

Torajans believe that sacrificed buffaloes carry the deceased to the afterlife. After the buffaloes have been sacrificed, the deceased person is ready for burial. Funerals last all day and include buffalo fights, dancing and music. At the climax of the event, they wrap the corpse and place gold and silver ornaments on the chest of the deceased.

Nobles are often buried in a stone tomb carved into the stone cliff. A carved figurine is placed in the tomb and placed so that it looks down on the villagers. Some of these rock tombs are large enough to house an entire family.

Tourists are welcome in Tanah Toraja. When funerals are scheduled, tourists are encouraged to participate in these unique celebrations of life and death.

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