Ma'Nene Festival
Photo: Manene Festival in Indonesia

The ceremony of cleaning corpses by the Indonesian Torajan

It’s normal for every culture to go its own way in celebrating the deceased, but in Indonesia, precisely the province of Tana Toraja, funeral rites are a little “different” from the norm. The Ma’Nene ritual is the festival of ancestor worship. When a person dies, the body is usually mummified with natural substance and buried in rock tombs. The mummification process allows the corpse to be preserved and the family can return to exhume it!

Ma'Nene Festival in Indonesia

The people of Torajan proudly display their deceased relatives after exhuming them from the place where they are buried and dressing them in fine/nice new clothes in an ancient ritual meant to show respect for their loved ones.

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MaNene Festival in Indonesia

Every year, the Toraja people of the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia visit the graves of their deceased relatives, exhume their remains, clean up the corpses and dress them with new clothes, then pose for family photos. The festival is known as Ma’Nene. The local church of Toraja has tried on several occasions to end the tradition, but the ancestral cult is deeply entrenched in the culture of the Torajans.

The Indonesian government has recognized this animist belief as (the way of the ancestors).


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