Seeing a relative pass away or finding them already gone is a difficult ordeal for anyone. People often have a hard time moving on from such a life event. Still, who says you have to move on? Some don’t, like one Indonesian tribe which keeps their rotting dead relatives and treats them like they are still alive.
In a mountainous area in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, there lives a one-million strong tribe called the Toraja. They are not like other tribes, however, since it’s not only the living which will welcome you when you visit their community, but also the dead. You see, the Indonesian tribe keeps their rotting dead relatives unburied out in the open:
Oh, they also dress them up, feed them, and cuddle with them, as if they were still alive. This has been a long-standing tradition for the Toraja. Now, you might be wondering how the place smells like? Well, it is far from fragrant, rotting corpses and all. Sometimes, the Indonesian tribe will leave them unburied for years– even decades.
So, to combat the smell, they stuff their dead relatives with dried plants to minimize the stench. They also try to preserve them with formaldehyde so that they won’t decompose outright.
“My mother died suddenly, so we aren’t ready yet to let her go. I can’t accept burying her too quickly,” explained a grieving Yohana Palangda, a Torajan woman. Others believe that their dead relatives’ bodies will bring good luck and fortune on them. There is also the fact that proper burials are expensive in Indonesia, ranging from $50,000 to $260,000 when converted.
At the very least, it can be a great way for young Torajans to meet their elders… or ancestors. Plus, it’s Halloween there 24/7/365.
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