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A Tribe Where The Dead Are Buried Inside A Tree

Tana Toraja is a regency of South Sulawesi Province of Indonesia, and home to the Toraja ethnic group. It covers an area of 1,990.22 km2 and had a population of 221,081 at the 2010 Census and 228,778 at the 2015 Census; the latest official estimate (as at mid 2017) is 231,519. The local government seat is in Makale, while the center of Toraja culture is in Rantepao. But now, Tana Toraja has been divided to two regencies that consist of Tana Toraja with its capital at Makale and Toraja Utara (North Toraja) with its capital at Rantepao.

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Living in the Tana Toraja regency (marked in red above) in South Sulawesi Province of Indonesia are the Torajan people whose believe in Animism has got them practice the age-old custom of burying bodies of dead babies inside tree trunks up to date.

The holes are then sealed over with palm fibre and, as the tree heals over time, the body is believed to be absorbed. Dozens of babies are interred in each tree.

Only children who die before they have started teething are buried in this way with locals believing the wind then takes away their souls.

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The ritual takes place in the regency of Tana Toraja, Villagers hollow out holes in huge tree trunks before wrapping the deceased child in cloth and then placing the infant inside.

Toraja funeral rites are important social events and occasions for entire families to gather, and for villagers to participate in communal events, renewing relationships and reconfirming beliefs and traditions in the way of the ancestors. These events last for several days.

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