Cleaning the dead: the afterlife rituals of the Torajan people
For the Torajan people of Indonesia, death is part of a spiritual journey: families keep the mummified remains of their deceased relatives in their homes for years – and traditionally invite them to join for lunch on a daily basis – before they are eventually buried. Even then, they are regularly exhumed to be cleaned and cared for
By Claudio Sieber
[I]n contrast to Western norms, Torajans people, who live in the mountains of Sulawesi in Indonesia, treat their beloved relatives as if they are sick not dead. In this picture, a grandchild stands next to her deceased grandparents. Yohanis (right), was 77 years old and passed away two weeks ago; his wife Alfrida Tottong Tikupadang (left), was 65 years old and passed away five years ago. In Toraja, it is customary to feed the deceased every day and to keep the corpses cozily bedded in a separate room of the family house until the family can afford a proper funeral.