Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ma'nene Ritual - Corpse Cleaning Part II

For every three years, in a bizarre ritual which dates back hundreds of years, islanders pay respects to deceased relatives by digging them up, cleaning their corpses and dressing them in their favourite clothes. For the Torajan people, an ethnic group indigenous to the mountainous region of Tana Toraja, the Ma'nene festival is a celebration of life. The Ma'nene festival, translated to 'the Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses', see the dead exhumed, groomed and dressed. It is a mark of respect to strengthen bond between life and death. Their coffins are replaced or fixed while relatives parade them around the village, following a path of straight lines. They believe the paths connect them with Hyang, a spiritual entity with supernatural power that only moves in straight lines. The vast majority of the 650,000 Torajan people are Christian or Muslim but a small number still practice 'Aluk Todolo', or 'the Way of the Ancestors'. The funeral ritual is one of the most important and expensive events for these communities and some Torajans save money their entire lives for a decent burial.  

 All photos credit: Agung Parameswara

You can find other pages on this topic here, here and here

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