My long holiday starts on 28th December with a week trip to Jakarta. I stayed at my best friend’s kost and came in incognito mode as her cousin so they won’t ask me to pay .
Though it was a week, I didn’t do much in the city. It rained every single day for hours during my stay and I got lazy to go out. Besides, my best friend Teteh was in exam week so she stays in Bogor instead of Bandung where I originally planned to go (oh Green Canyon! Oh Kawah Putih! I’ll visit you next time ). Because of the rain, we mostly play inside malls and cafes. It sucks, but we went to some pretty cool places and met cool people too. Later we went to Kemang for the new year’s eve celebration. It’s still fun though because of some silly incidents, like passing the highly popular Taman Lawang (*cough those sissies!) and the chance to try Kopaja and busway hahaha. Let me warn you, at noon and when you know there’s a chance of traffic jam, don’t EVER try to ride Kopaja or you’ll get grilled inside.
Fast forward to mid January: I turned 21! It was a happy day. Mom cooked my favorite foods and I spent the day with my family. Later my best friend Ira and Nisa brought a homemade cake for me. It was so pretty that I didn’t want to eat it. Fast forward again I got more presents and cakes, and my Dad bought me a new DSLR. Thank you very much Dad! Now I can’t stop playing with my baby D5100, we plan to go for trips together :’)
Fast forward again to early February: my cousins called me one day and said they wanted to go to Tana Toraja. It is a small city in Central Sulawesi where the people live to die. I mean they live to collect money so when they or their family member’s die, they could hold a funeral ceremony as big as possible with as many pigs and buffaloes as they could afford. Wasting money? Yeah.. But that’s just how it is and that’s what makes Toraja interesting!
Well, the size of Rambu Solo (the funeral ceremony) will depends on your family social status and how much money you have. But nonetheless the ceremony will last for days and cost LOTS of money; inviting hundreds of guests and sacrificing dozens of water buffaloes and pigs (could reach hundreds!). On average the ceremony will cost around $100k but it could easily go beyond that if the deceased is a powerful person or have high social status.
Before the ceremony started, the deceased body will be kept at home for some time. It could take days, weeks, months, or even longer if the family wants to raise some money first so they could cover the funeral expenses. During that time the family will serve the deceased just like a living human; give it foods, drinks and change its clothes.
The ceremony started by welcome guests with dances and music. After that they will slaughter those poor water buffaloes and pigs then distribute the meat to people. When everything else is done, the body will be taken to its tomb; either in a hill like the photo above or inside a tree for kids/babies.
There’s also one epic ritual where the family ‘raises’ the dead so they could change its clothes and clean the body. Scary? Yeah… just imagine the body walking to you from their tomb after years and looks so much like a dried zombie (without the flesh eating part). The body could walk because some kind of crazy spells. It is an old tradition and the older generations, including my Grandma said it is real and still happen. However the ritual is a rare thing to witness these days.
But aaargghh! Again that perfect plan to visit Toraja also failed. My Dad forbid us because it was during the raining season. The land there was prone to landslide and the road condition was also poor due to reparation. With that, I spent my days catching up with friends, watching movies, and visiting a lot of new places in town.
WARNING: If by any chance you want to visit Tana Toraja after reading this post, please be aware that the funeral ceremony is gonna be cruel during the pig and buffaloes slaughter. Definitely not for the weak hearted person