Toraja has an ethereal charm. It is a place with surprising local customs and an approach to death that is unique to Indonesia. For death is seen as the ultimate goal of life. When a Torajan passes away family and friends of the departed celebrate at the funeral.
Cheers echo through the hilltops, a big feast is held for all the guests and traditional dances redefine what human perceive as morbid into something beautiful. The death ceremonies of Toraja, named Rambu Solo’, is the apotheosis of Torajan festival because of the sheer magnitude and cultural significance that follows. It marks the point where a person passes from the living to join the ancestors. Not vanished or forgotten, but transported into another state of being.
Rambu Solo’ is a ceremony of the departed, where buffaloes are highly revered as a sacrificial entity playing an irreplaceable role in Torajan traditions. The more a Torajan individual is respected, the more buffaloes it would take to sacrifice when they depart. Some even bear staggering numbers of hundreds, with a belief that with each buffaloes sacrificed, the departed will enter the afterlife (Puya) more easily.
The meat of the sacrificed buffaloes are then shared with the guests attending as part of the revelry. It is a very extravagant and paramount celebration dating back to ancestral times, where buffaloes carefully and lovingly cared for gives their meat back to the community that cherished them. These ceremonies are events highly anticipated by locals and travelers alike, as they show the true hues of Torajan culture in its essence. Grand is not even a word fitting enough to describe the excitement and festivities going on as the Torajans always celebrate the parting in an extravagant feast.