Thursday, January 19, 2012

Indonesians Baby Graves

In Indonesia deceased Toraja babies are not buried in stone graves as adults are, but they are placed in the hollow of a tree, which eventually envelopes the body and integrates it into the tree.
 According to the animist Toraja belief Aluk To Dolo ("the way of the ancestors") the deceased rides into puya, the "life hereafter" on the back of a water buffalo slaughtered at the funeral ceremony. Babies are too young to ride an animal, so when an infant dies before teething the body is brought to the forest and buried in a liang pia, a grave in the tarra tree. This tree has white sap, representative of mother's milk. A hole is carved into the trunk and the baby is placed inside standing up. A matting of palm fibre is fixed over the hole and the tree will continue to grow normally around the baby until it would have been sixteen years old. At that point, a ceremony is held and the baby's spirit leaves the tree for puya.

Photo and above info: Lim Chin Huang
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