This Indonesian Tribe Has A Unique Way To Respect The Departed

Indonesian villagers dig up their ancestors every three years and dress them in new clothes in the ancient ritual to show 'love and respect.'

Indonesia, Trojan tribe, Ma'nene festival, Festival to honor the dead

Disclaimer: The content and the photos in the article can be disturbing.

While Hindus follow the Pitru Paksha, Christians have the All Souls Day, to pray for the souls of our departed ancestors, the Indonesians have a unique tradition to honor their forefathers.

This Indonesian tribe has a festival of the walking dead in which they dig up the corpses of their relatives and friends.They then wash, groom and dress them up before walking with them for good harvest.

Every year, families in Toraja in the highlands of South Sulawesi, exhume the bodies of their dead relatives and friends to reunite with them in an annual celebration called Ma’nene. The families open the coffins and let the corpses dry for some time.

Once the bodies are dry, they wash, groom and dress up the mummies in new fancy clothes and take them for a walk through the village in straight lines.

 Image source: worldofbuzz

Crying and mourning are prohibited during this festival. “It is our way of respecting the dead. There is no mourning. It is a moment of joy for us because we reunite with our dead relatives,” said one of the villagers. “We try to honor them and in return get their blessings for a good harvest,’ said one of the villagers,” he added.

After the walk is over, buffaloes and pigs are sacrificed as an offering for the dead. This ritual lasts for three days.

The bizarre tradition had started centuries ago when an animal hunter had found a decaying corpse but dressed him in his shirt and gave him a proper burial. He believed after the burial he was blessed with good fortune. This ritual translates as ‘Ceremony for cleansing corpses’.

 Image source: dailymail

The Trojan people adapted the story and started celebrating the death of their deceased. The Trojans believe that life goes on even after death.

In some cases, the deceased's funeral is held several weeks or even years after their death so the family can have time to save up and pay for an extravagant funeral.

But the funeral is never the last time their relative's body is seen. Whenever an elderly villager dies, their body is wrapped in several layers of cloth to prevent decay.

On rare occasions a villager dies away from home, family members often venture to the location and carry the body home.

Cover image source: metro

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Manali Kulkarni (WRITER)

Manali Kulkarni writes for Reacho. If you wish to get in touch with them, drop in a mail at