The Toraja Ethnic
In the past, Toraja isolation restrained the development of its civilization and halted their communication and transportation attempts. It grew at a slower rate compared to the people of Bugis or Makassar living in the lowland. Even though all flat lands on their territory are used as rice fields, the productions are barely enough to feed everyone, making the Torajans live in a small and concentrated community with high self-sufficiency.
The arable land of Toraja is very limited due to its rocky terrain. It is isolated by natural barrier, making it hard to trade with outsiders. On this condition, ancient people in Toraja must have relied on very limited resources they had. This living condition turns Toraja into a self-fulfilling ecosystem. And with limited options at hand, Toraja ancestors chose the oldest and most compelling art of survival: harmony.
Tongkonan, a wonder of architecture from the dawn of Toraja civilization, is far from a simple abode. The traditional house represents an intricate relation between generations. It serves a dutiful purpose to uphold peace and value in the society. A Tongkonan belongs to To Ma’rapu, a family clan related by blood. To Parengnge’, an elder of such a clan is responsible to teach the extended family within his Tongkonan about the ancestral ways of life.
There is nowhere else on earth where the words death and lavish can be paired in a sentence as in Toraja. In this ethereally charming land, death has never borne sadness. On the contrary, it is the ultimate goal of life, longing to be celebrated by both the departed and the family members left behind. Cheers that echo through hilltops, a big feast for all guests, and traditional dances redefine what human perceive as morbid into something beautiful.