Walking With the Dead
A ritual practiced in Indonesian when death doesn’t mean goodbye
Funerals can be expensive and families don’t always have the funds available to pay for a burial when a loved one passes away. So what do you do’ Well the Toraja people of Indonesia have a very unique way of dealing with this. If they can’t afford a burial, the corpse is instead dressed in garbs and placed in a temporary coffin inside the family’s house.
The family lives with their dead relative until they can save up enough money for a proper burial. When this time comes do they simply pick up the coffin and carry it to it’s new resting place’ Oh no! That’s no fun. They instead raise the corpse from it’ s temporary coffin and ceremoniously walk the cadaver to it’s final resting place, which could be miles away. Giving a whole knew meaning to life after death.
They say the dead live on in our hearts and minds – but in one Indonesian province, the deceased continue to walk the earth in a rather more literal, zombie-like fashion.
Families in Toraja in South Sulawesi dig up the bodies of their dead relatives before washing, grooming and dressing them in fancy new clothes.
Even dead children are exhumed – two of these photos show the skeleton of a baby wrapped in a print dress with a doll laid next to it.
Damaged coffins are fixed or replaced, and the mummies are then walked around the province by following a path of straight lines.
The ritual is called Ma’nene, or The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses.
According to the ancient Torajan belief system, the spirit of a dead person must return to his village of origin.
So if a person died on a journey, the family would go to the place of death and accompany the deceased back home by walking them back to the village.
In the past, people were frightened to journey far, in case they died while they were away and were unable to return to their village.
Zombieland: The bodies resemble something out of a horror film as they are dug up every year to be washed and dressed up in new clothes