Offbeat

By Taniya Dutta


An Indonesian tribe literally believes in ‘Walking Dead’ as they dig up the corpse of their relatives and friends, wash, groom and dress them up before walking with them for good harvest.

Every year, families in Toraja in the highlands of South Sulawesi, exhume the bodies of their dead relatives and friends to reunite with them in an annual celebration called Ma’nene.

Even the bodies of babies and children are dug up to celebrate the ritual that last for three days.

The families open the coffins and let the bodies dry for sometime. After that, they wash, groom and dress up the mummies in new fancy clothes and take them for a walk through the village in straight lines in much zombie-like fashion.

All this is done while smiling from ear-to-ear because crying and mourning is prohibited.

“It is our way of respecting the dead.

“There is no mourning. It is a moment of joy for us because we reunite with our dead relatives.

“We try to honour them and in return get their blessings for good harvest,” said one of the villagers.

After the walk, the villagers sacrifice buffaloes and pigs as an offering for the dead’s free walk to heaven.

The bizarre tradition had started centuries ago when an animal hunter had found a decaying corpse but dressed him in his shirt and gave him a proper burial. He believed after the burial he was blessed with good fortune.

The Trojan people adapted the story and started celebrating the death of their deceased.

Yuli Sepri/ Caters News: A man lights a cigarette for the exhumed body of his father and dressing up his mother.

Yuli Sepri/ Caters New – Residents carrying the body Ne Rapong (died in 1990) during a Manene ritual at Panggala Village, Rinding Allo District, North Toraja District, South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.

Yuli Sepri/ Caters News: The relatives of the corpse take selfie with the exhume body in an annual celebration called Ma’nene in Indonesia.

Yuli Sepri/ Caters News: Marten Labi caress the hair of her mother’s body, Yohana Liling (died in 1997) during the Manene ritual .

Yuli Sepri/ Caters News: The bodies resemble something out of a horror film as they are excavated every year to be washed and dressed up in new clothes.

Yuli Sepri/ Caters News:: Manene ritual at Panggala Village, Indonesia.