A very special tribe in Indonesia is well-known for refusing to bury their deceased loved ones and keeping their bodies in their homes instead.
The Toraja people of the South Sulawesi region have hit the headlines after people discovered that the one-million tribe keeps their dead loved ones’ bodies for years.
Not only do the Toraja people keep the bodies in their homes, but they also dress, feed, and hang out with them.
Based on the belief that the souls remain in the body even after death, the Toraja people have learned how to mummify dead bodies and preserve them for years using chemical solution formalin.
In respect to the deceased, the Toraja treat their dead loved ones with respect and provide them with everything that a person who is alive needs to survive and thrive.
The dead bodies remain by the family’s side until the official funeral takes place. While in most cases this means at least a few years due to high burial costs, some bodies are preserved for several decades before being buried.
“My mother died suddenly, so we aren’t ready yet to let her go,” Yohana Palangda said in an interview with National Geographic, explaining that keeping the bodies helps them with the grieving process. “I can’t accept burying her too quickly.”
Even after the burial, however, the Toraja people continue seeing their deceased loved ones once per year by digging up their coffins and washing their corpses before wrapping them in new clothes.
The Ma’nene ritual, also known as ‘caring for ancestors,’ typically takes place in August and serves as a reunion for the dead and the living.
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