Rites of Man
Of Indonesia’s thousands of islands, a handful get most of the attention from visitors to the archipelago: Bali, Java & Lombok. Venture farther afield, however, and you’ll see a different side of the country. Tana Toraja is located on Sulawesi not far from the stunning rice terraces of the Mamasa Valley. Tana Toraja’s higher altitude, at 2600 feet above sea level, creates a climate that is refreshingly cool compared to much of Indonesia. The area also offers a unique opportunity to learn about Indonesian culture at one of its fascinating and elaborate funeral ceremonies. These rituals often last for several days, welcome thousands of guests, and include colorful costumes, animal sacrifice and traditional rhythmic chanting. Villagers save for their funeral their entire lives, and may mummify a loved one until enough funds are saved for the celebration. It is one of the few places in the world where you’ll want to be invited to a funeral, but do not forget to bring an offering!
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