Before deciding to share about this, I was eager to continue posting my South Korea trip, but I was lack of idea about how to write it, I share a glimpse of Rambu Solo (funeral ceremony) of my late grandfather (from my late mom’s side) instead. The ceremony was held in July 2010, about more than half year after he was gone.
Since I am currently far from any family who are capable to explain to me what was happened on each picture, I will only tell each picture based on my experience there. I think I was so careless back then, so this post might appear as shallow experience. T_T *I beg your pardon in front.”
If you are close to a Torajan, or you are not close but once heard about the funeral in Toraja, or read it somewhere, you might already know that Toraja funeral ceremony is kind of festive and expensive, which is, yes, it’s true. And, the most iconic item during the ceremony is Tedong Bonga’ (water buffalo) whose each price can approach hundreds million rupiah. (below is not a tedong bonga’, only tedong).
From my point of view, or my family, it doesn’t mean we were happy for the death of our love one, but we are mostly grateful for being able to send them in a nice way, related to anything we should provide during the ceremony; since a person dead until the dead is sent to her or his last resting place.
According to my late mom’s story, and yes it was similar to what you read or heard somewhere, at old times, when any religion hadn’t touched the Torajan tribe, Torajan believed that the whole buffalo which were slaughtered during the ceremony, transported the dead body somewhere in to a heaven. Yes, Torajan believed that due to the animism.
Since the religion entered Toraja highland, that kind of understanding has changed, however, the tradition stays the same, but somehow, honestly it becomes the war of pride of each family (Thank God our big family care more about how we live well after the ceremony than the pride itself) . Tedong bonga’ is still the icon of the ceremony.
Back to my late grandfather’s funeral ceremony (Rambu Solo) which was held in my grandfather’s hometown, somewhere far away from the region’s capital city. The last ceremony was held for 4 days and 3 nights. During those days, the inner family was received guests.
Receiving guests might sound easy and simple, but hey, nothing was simple about tradition, custom, and culture, especially if it was related to Torajan funeral ceremony. Honestly speaking, I used to hate those things. I remember how childish I was back then for trying to avoid it, although I failed. As the hosts, we had to meet our guests one by one and we were expected to have conversation whether we knew them or didn’t.
I am not good at courtesy, and I even worse back then, so you might imagine how hard my struggle was. I only could be saved by having friendly father and sisters. I would have received so many critics without those two awesome people. Kekekeke.
Moreover, our guests came, not with an empty hand and personally, that was the most burdening thing. There were a team whose task wasn’t anything else, but writing down every single thing that our guests brought, in detail; no more or less and someday, when those guests become hosts, we have to “pay back” with the same or more, not lesser. It’s burdening for me because we were not allowed to refuse it. NO WAY. I tried, but I was scolded by my big family. 😥
When the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were busy receiving the guests days and nights, there was my grandmother, sitting right besides my grandfather’s coffin in Tongkonan which was especially prepared to put my grandfather’s coffin, singing the “dead-song” (I forget what Torajan called it) during the nights. Although I didn’t understand the whole songs, I exactly felt how hollow, grieve, and lonely my grandmother was. It was such a heartbreaking song. She was there, unmoved, until the end of ceremony.