The Real Walking Dead: 7 Shocking Images from Toraja Death Rituals

RealClear Staff


**WARNING: Images May Be Disturbing to Some Audiences**

On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, living with dead bodies for weeks — even years — is normal. We take a look at the unusual practices of the Torajan people. Let us know what you think of this ritual of passing in the comments section below.

1. Not Dead, But 'Sick'

The Torajan believe that death, at least in the beginning, is merely an illness. They still "feed" the corpse with food and drink. Death is a long process and it can take many years for the deceased to work their way through it, finally reaching afterlife.

2. Dead, But Not Buried

The dead are placed in coffins after the elaborate funeral, but aren't buried underground. They are instead placed in caves or stone graves to make recovering them easier.

3. Walking Still Good Exercise

In a yearly ritual called “Ma’Nene,” the dead are exhumed, washed in the river, bathed with local herbs, and brought back to "walk" and "dance" in the village.

4. Grooming Is Important

The dead are properly washed, dressed and groomed by all family members.

5. Say Cheese!

Unburying the dead, of course, isn't a bummer at all. It's a festive time.

6. Respect Your Elders

Grandma and grandpa still have an exulted place in families, despite being deceased.

7. Exhume, Then Resume

Eventually, the dead are placed back in their coffin and laid to rest again. That is, until the next time!



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