/ 2017 / Press / Feature Story

Living for Death

In Toraja (Indonesia), the rituals associated with death are
complex and expensive. Therefore, when a person dies, it can
take weeks, months even years for the family to organize the
funeral. During this time, the deceased is considered to be
"sick" and kept at home. While, it remains a sad time, the
transition from life to death is a slow and peaceful process
strengthening family bonds. Depending on the family, the body
may be kept uncovered, bundled in layers of cloth or in a coffin.

In the region of Pangala, the Ma' Nene, or cleaning of the
corpses, ceremony takes place after the rice harvest. Coffins are
removed from their burial sites and opened. The mummies are
cleaned, dried in the sun and given a change of clothes.
Expressions of sadness are mixed with the overall happy
atmosphere surrounding these moments of bonding with loved
ones and honoring ancestors.