Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sulawesi Surprise!: Skull Surprise!

Can you spot a skull?


Hollywood movies might have ingrained in some of us that skulls are associated with sorcery, the black arts or black magic. Whatever it is, skulls accompanined with some mumbo jumbo most probably could kill, steal, injure or cause some misfortune or destruction to others - or is it just in our mind? - never mind, just that if you happen to practise witchcraft and need a skull for your practice, you'd love Tana Toraja. There is an abundance of skulls there and you could just slip your hand into a coffin and make a grasp for a skull that you fancy. You'd not believe that unless of course, you have seen with your own eyes, a visitor in a burial site making a grab for a skull. The visitor even invited me to hold the skull. Thanks but no thanks! Torajans should not be afraid of skulls. After all, a funeral there could be held weeks, months, or even years after a person passed away. While the deceased's family raise the significant funds needed to cover the funeral expenses, the body of the deceased will be wrapped in several layers of cloth and kept under the tongkonan. Until then, the deceased is not considered dead but sick. That probably is an antidote for the phobia for death!
Traveling Tip: You don't have to try everything!

6 comments:

Thomas C B Chua said...

Another eerie one!

footiam said...

The people there don't seem to find that eerie. Strange, don't you think?

Liudmila said...

I read all the posts in this page that I missed in thelast period. These rituals are very interesting even if they seem a little scary to me. Specially if it is about dead persons that the family can't burry for years. Why can't they burry them "normally" I don't understand and have to take them in their houses? If the ritual is soo too expensive, it could be normal to burry dead persons without rituals.

Thomas C B Chua said...

footiam, it all has to do with "hope" for a better after life which also inspires kits and kins to keep the body for a proper burial in the midst of poverty.

footiam said...

The dead person will be buried only when the family has enough funds to hold the elaborate and expensive funeral ceremony which involves the slaughters of buffaloes and pigs. It is an old tradition that has been handed down and unlike our society, I suppose a simple ritual would not do there. I suppose the dead does not scare the people there too since they have not been taught that. Maybe if we show them some Hollywood movies like The Exorcist or The Omen, they may start to think differently!

footiam said...

I do think so too and while it is good to have hope, folks all over the world seem to look forward to a good afterlife that they forget to live the present.

Have another serving of Travel Pangs!