Rambu Solo’ funeral ceremony in Tana Toraja

Rambu Solo ceremony in Toraja

IO, Toraja – One of the local cultural traditions of the Toraja community is to abide by the custom of longko’ (“guilt-shame-fear”). Torajans maintain their self-esteem and vigilance so as not to be humiliated (kalongkoran). This hereditary culture has been maintained and defended down through time, with all its characteristics and uniqueness.

The extended family of late Grandmother Issa and Papa Anne, elders who passed away two years ago, sponsored a funeral ceremony locally known as “Rambu Solo” at Tongkonan Gandang Batu. The event was held by Kak Eta Ex Zatta, the Pabutungan family, from June 1 to June 28, 2018.

This longko’ culture does not simply uphold values of honour, self-esteem, and shame; it also champions spirit, a work ethic, honesty, and harmony of society in broad family bonds.

“Mantarima Tamu” in the Rambu Solo, a funeral ceremony that reveals how a family prepares to welcome guests during the event. In this case, guests will be housed in a cottage that has been decorated as beautifully as possible with typical Toraja carvings and accessories. This place is called Lantang Karampoan (reception cottage).

Before entering a reception, guests usually stand in line and sign a guest book. The entourage is preceded by a show of wealth, such as buffaloes, pigs, and others. This was followed by guests, escorted by a troupe carrying sticks or spears, the men and women dressed in traditional Torajan clothing.

Upon their arrival at a guest cottage, local protocol has them welcomed by announcing the origin of each guest. Once they are settled in a lodge, local families greet and welcome them.

Entering the reception area, a family line will welcome guests, led by an elder specially assigned to this duty.

A couple arrayed in customary Torajan clothing, with a spear in hand, then perform a to massuling and ma’marakka (funeral music). Afterwards, there is a carrier of the place for cigarettes and betel, and behind him are lined up the children and grandchildren and the extended family of the deceased person. At the grand funeral ceremony, some local gestures of ma’katia and to ma’badong (special dance of guest reception) are also present behind the family lines.

Family members engage in conversation, share stories, and tell jokes while serving cigarettes and betel to the guests. Meanwhile guests are also treated with ma’katia or ma’badong dances. (yoga)