Getting to Know the Toraja Death Ceremony

Rambu Solo’ is a mention of the upacara of death in Toraja, South Sulawesi. In this ceremony it is obligatory for the family of the deceased or deceased to make a feast as a final sign of respect.

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History of the Solo Signpost Ceremony’

This traditional Ceremony of Rambu Solo is a death ceremony carried out by all family members as proof of the last respect for the deceased family members and also as a preparation so that their spirits can walk towards Puya (a place of rest trusted by the Toraja people).

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This traditional ceremony has begun about nine centuries ago and has always been carried out for generations until now. According to the toraja people’s own understanding, the word Rambu Solo means smoke whose direction is downwards.

The word smoke down is interpreted as an offering to the dead and  is done after 12 noon i.e. when the sun begins to fall or the sun begins to set.

In addition to the word Rambu Solo, this traditional death ceremony is also commonly referred to as Rampe matampu, which is a western belief. So the meaning in detail is the ceremony performed to the west of the house.

This traditional ceremony is also not necessarily performed for the entire population of Toraja, but still pays attention to the social strata of the deceased or their families. If they are a noble family then the ceremony performed is certainly carried out luxuriously.

Another purpose of performing this traditional ceremony is to show that this family is noble. For families who are doing the Solo Signpost ceremony, sometimes they are bought given by other families or acquaintances of two types of animals, namely pigs and buffaloes. It aims to show the love and also the sense of sorrow felt as relatives.

Ram bu Solo Ceremony

Before the implementation of the Solo Signpost ceremony, a family meeting will first be held to discuss what are important things to provide and also how to make a ceremonial hut and so on.

After the D-day of the traditional Rambu Solo ceremony, the slaughter of stinky ker and pork will be carried out.  Buffalo or slaughtered pigs, the number will be adjusted according to the strata of society owned by the family that performs the ceremony.

For the noble class who died, the count of ker bau or pigs that will be cut at the ceremony will be very large, which is about 24 to 100 heads.

However, if those who carry out this traditional ceremony are middle-class people, then the number to be cut is 8-50 buffaloes and pigs. This Solo Signpost ceremony is held for three days or even up to seven days.

Before the Solo Signpost ceremony is over, the body should not be buried, but kept on top of the house. Then in the ceremonial process, the corpse will be put into a crate and then lowered from the house, then raised to a place called lakkean.

Not infrequently also for the Toraja people, the family corpses that will be buried are sometimes kept on top of the house for many years to wait for the right time to carry out the Solo Signpost ceremony’.

Types of Solo’ SignPost Ceremonies In Toraja

The types of Solo’ Signpost ceremonies  that are carried out according to the social strata that exist in the Toraja community are as follows:

  • Dasili’s death ceremony was for a low social stratum.
  • The death ceremony was set up for the common people and was performed in just one night.
  • The death ceremony is handled or often called digoya tedong, which is a ceremony performed for middle or high nobles but does not have much funds.
  • The ceremony of the death of the spoils was performed for the most high nobles.