Toraja is a mountainous region in the north of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, as a dwelling place for more than 500,000 people of Toraja. Hilly terrain is always awe-inspiring for its amazing natural scenery, as well as its distinctive culture which makes everyone want to go back there, again and again and again.

Split into two regions, Tana Toraja and North Toraja, 32 cultural villages stand in unison. On this land, old way live on. Torajans believe there’s a tie (lolo) that attaches human, animal and plants in one system. In order for human to survive, one must care for animals and plants. If one of the three is harmed, all of them will suffer the consequences. This philosophy is called Tallu Lolona.

Tallu Lolona is a teaching of Aluk Todolo, an ancentral religion dating back to Torajan mythical past. This ancient faith theaches Torajans to respoect their parents, elders, ancentors, and the balance of life in general.

Christianity is the majority religion in Toraja, but all other religions can worship freely and peacefully. A small number of Torajans are animists, their belief system is polytheistic animism, called aluk, which means “the way”. But Aluk is not just a belief system, it is a combination of religion, law and habit. Aluk governs social life, agricultural practices, and ancestral rituals. Although most of the local population has embraced Christianity, they still preserve their ancentral customs with pride.

Rambu Solo’ And Rambu Tuka’
There are two important traditional ceremonies in Toraja – Rambu Solo’ and Rambu Tuka’. Like yin and yan, Rambu Solo’ and Rambu Tuka’ can not be separated. Rambu Solo’ is a very sacred funeral ceremony, while Rambu Tuka is a celebration of a special event that brings the whole family together, some examples are Ma’Bua’, Merok, Mangrara Banua, and Rampanan Kapa’.

Rambu Solo’ is a funeral ceremony to give high appreciation and respect for the departed, and aim to deliver spirits to the afterlife (puya), back with the ancestors. Torajans believe that the departed will actually died after a whole rituals of Rambu Solo’ has been fulfilled. If not, the departed will be considered as sick or weak, so he/she was treated like a living person. The departed will be laid on the bed, and given food and drink.

Rambu Solo’ is usually held in June to December. In these months, Toraja will be very busy and very crowded.

Language in Toraja

Torajans generally speak Bahasa Indonesia and also have their own Toraja language. The Toraja language is spoken by the Torajans in their daily interaction, which make up the majority of the population.

As one of the most popular destinations in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, most of the Toraja people are accustomed to communicate and interact with foreign tourists. Most people who work in the tourism industry can speak English as well as some of the more popular foreign languages.

Here are some simple phrases.

Excuse MePermisiTabe’
How Are You?Apa Kabar?Umba Nakua Kareba?
What’s Your Name?Siapa Nama Kamu?Indanna Sangammu?
Thank YouTerima KasihKurre Sumanga’