Select Country

Rambu Solo: A Creepy and yet Expensive Funeral in Toraja

A myth, descending from one to another generation said that Toraja’s ancestor came from heaven, using a stair and live on earth till today. The stair is the only thing that connect Toraja’s tribe with Puang Matua (the one and only god). This is the cultural philosophy that Toraja Tribe remains to this day

Toraja’s tribe believe that the stair is the only way spirits can reach the heaven. The tribe will use higher caves at the cliff as the cemetery. There is a reason for that, so that the spirit will get closer to the heaven. It is not the creepy story, yet. Legends said, dead body will walk by himself and reach their peaceful place to sleep forever.

The funeral ceremoney: Rambu Solo

The funeral ceremony need to be done in order to help spirits reach the heaven. It is called Rambu Solo. People believe that spirits will bring them mischance if the ceremony is not held by the family. The family will be blessed and have better harvest season in the next year for the ceremony. If don’t, they could wait until there is enough money to hold Rambu Solo.

chinese tea

The family should treat the dead as a living one if they don’t have enough money to hold the ceremony for them. It could be serving them food, cigarette, coffee and many more. The family should let the dead body sleep peacefully in their room, along with the family.

Ma’nene, it’s how they called dead body, which has preserved using unique balm. During Rambu Solo, the family immolate 10 – 100 carabao to honor their ancestors and help the spirits reach heaven. The higher social status, the more expensive Rambu Solo held by the family. No wonder, Rambu Solo could spend more than US$300.000.

Carabao is native Toraja’s bull. Some of them are very rare and expensive, such as Tedong Saleko (US$100.000) and Tedong Bonga (US$10.000 – US$80.000). There is a unique marketplace in Toraja, that is selling Carabao through the year. The family will sacrifice Carabao, and put the its head in Tongkonang, Cemetery or their house, as a symbol and protection from their god.

In Rambu Solo, the most attractive and creepy show is how these Ma’nene will be awaken and walk to their own cave. The tribe is still holding this ceremony until today. You can see this funeral ceremony by the end of the year, mostly at the harvest season, to honor their ancestors for the wealth and health during the last year. We recommend you to buy a pack of cigarette, and give it to the family when you reach the house.


About Author

Active traveller with a love for Asian food and Japanese anime.