Toraja Culture: An Exotic Culture from East of Indonesia


In the east part of Indonesia, Toraja culture is considered a well-noted culture to explore. There are so many unique, one in the world heritages that stay there. Anthropologists from outside Indonesia even make them the object of their research.

Indonesia is known for its various cultures. Toraja is the one with big potential to get you caught in an Indonesia culture shock. The languages, the habits, and all the rules implemented in the society will amaze you greatly.

Toraja’s Geographic Location

Toraja comes from the Bugis words ‘to riaja’ which means people who live in the uplands. The Toraja people live in the districts of Tana Toraja, North Toraja, and Mamasa. Those districts are spread out in the west and south of Sulawesi.

These days, where transportations are easy to find, you can easily touch Toraja. A flight is the most recommended way for you to go there. As Sulawesi is an island, it will definitely take a long time to take other transportation there.

Class in Society

Toraja culture is so dear to the class in the social system. Family relationships, marriage, the place you live until the food you eat are all determined by the social class. What a unique yet constrict system, right?

There are four classes in Toraja society. The highest to the lowest structures are started with Tana Bulaan, Tana Bassi, Tana Karurung, and Tana Kuakua. In general, they are somehow classified into the noble level, commoner as the middle class, and slave as the lowest. 

The class of the Torajan people is passed through their mother. Women in this ethnic group are very decisive in the caste. The rules say that it is prohibited for a man to marry a woman in a lower class. However, when a man marries a woman with a higher level than him, his level will be upgraded as well.

Rambu Solo

Rambu Solo can be concluded as the signature ceremony of Toraja. It is a ritual that is conducted to honor the dead. This ritual is also believed as a way to deliver the spirit of the death to the spirit world.

What is unique about this ceremony is the price it takes to hold the ritual. The buffalos are sacrificed as a prerequisite for the ceremony. It is not an ordinary buffalo. Cauca Tedong Bonga buffalos are the ones used for Rambu Solo. The price of each buffalo is ranging from 10 to 50 million rupiahs! The higher the class of the dead, the more buffalos to be sacrificed. What an exotic Toraja culture!



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