Toraja / Indonesia

Going Home to Puya


The approach is applied to provide imaginary scene and assumption of puya conception. A heaven as the final destination of all living creatures.


 

In the traditional belief of Toraja in the upland of Sulawesi, Indonesia, death doesnt mean the end of circle. It is, moreover, the beginning of someone’s journey to the heaven kingdom. This traditional conception believes that all living creatures will go home to heaven, as called as puya. The dreamed final destination for all, the heaven.

 

Thus, every process of sending the beloved ones during the great ceremony of rambu solo will be conducted in the best efforts in details, greatly, and luxuriously. All animal sacrifices and ceremony expenditures are the way to send properly the dead to puya.

Generally the great ceremony of rambu solo will be conducted accordingly to the nobility status of the descended. The higher of the status, the longer ceremonies will be conducted. It usually takes several days for the main ceremony with couples of years of the preparation. Of course it costs huge amount of moneys, times, and efforts of the descended families. Tens, or hundreds, of animals such as water buffalo (Bubalus Bubalis), pigs, chicken, and horse in several occasions will be slaughtered. Along with the modernization, the ceremony of rambu solo has been shifted. In the past, the length and glorious of rambu solo and based on status of the family, it is not about the economy background. Not only the length of the ceremony, but it is also about the number of slaughtered animals as conveyance of the descended to puya.

 

As for the documentation approach, the applied photography technique is by using infrared customized camera and the images are transferred into monochrome. The approach is applied to provide imaginary scene and assumption of puya conception. A heaven as the final destination of all living creatures.

One of the belief states of Toraja is the harmony of human roles with their surrounding environment. Puya, the heaven, can be created if the harmony is preserved by conserved the environment itself.
Tongkonan, the traditional house of Toraja, is derived from tongkon, or sit down. In wider context, aside as center of housing complex, it define the place to hear commands and advice in solving problem.
During the ceremony, the descended one will be carried up to the main tongkonan in the center of rambu solo process.
For several days of rambu solo ceremony, the close families will stay beside the descended one. It expresses their last dedication to their loves ones on earth.
The relatives and acquaintances of the descended will come by carrying animals as gifts to be slaughtered and served during the rambu solo ceremony processes.
Each quest convoy will be leaded by a war dance as expression of honours of descended families to the incoming guests. Ma'randing dance conveys the courage of the descended one.
The incoming guests will be leaded to the main building and served by families with betel and areca nuts (Areca catechu), tobaccos, cloves, and limestones.
During the ceremony, Ma'badong, mourning dance, is performed in group to enchant the harmony of life and the great stories of the descended one during his/her life.
Usually, in rambu solo ceremony, the fight of water-buffalo, ma'pasilaga tedong, will entertain the guests. Most of them will be slaughtered during the ceremony to served the families and guests before the funeral.
In the last day of rambu solo ceremony, the descended one will be carried down and the families will throw moneys to the relatives and guests who have helped them during the ceremony.
Before funeral, the bier of descended will be carried down and the families and relatives will express their mourning and loves. Then the descended one will be buried into a stone hole in the hill or canyon.






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