Funeral Customs and Traditions in Indonesia

Selasa, 25 November 2008

Among the Javanese people, funerals involve several activities called "selamatan". The first selamatan is held on the day a member of a family dies, which is called "geblag". The next selamatan is held on the third day, called nelung dina, on the seventh day, called mithung dina, on the fortieth day called matang puluh dina, on the hundreth day called nyatus, and on the thousandth day, called nyewu, which is the greatest of all the selamatan ceremonies. The Javanese believe that after the thousandth day, the spirit of the dead person is already in peace in the other world.
The Torajan people of South Sulawesi have an unique way of burying the dead. They believe that if somebody dies, they enter "puya", a place for the dead. They also believe that how dead people go to puya must show his or her social status when he or she was alive. That's why, the funeral ceremony for a person having a high position in the community may look like a big party or even a carnival to outsiders. in Tanah Toraja, a dead person is accepted as really dead only when a complete funeral has been held for him. Before that, the dead is considered to be a sick body and is kept in the chain of traditional houses called Tongkonan. This sick body is dressed and offered foods.
The Balinese of Trunyan have still a different funeral. After a mourning ceremony, the dead body is put under a tree. It is not buried or burned. It is not even covered with clothes or leaves. It is amazing that the body. Although it does rot, does not smell. The place where the dead is put is near a village not far from Batur Lake in Kintamani.
The Manggarai people of Flores believe that the spirit of the dead called "poti", stay at the place where they used to stay when they were alive, especially near the bed. After some times, the poti live in wells, big trees, or crossroads near the house. These spirits don't bother living people, but they are believed to be watching their grandchildren. When these children are in danger, the poti are there to help them. However, this is believed to last only five days, for the poti will leave for Mori Karaeng, a place for the dead.
The Manggarai people believe that everything in Mori Karaeng is the opposite of that in the world of living. So, people break dishes and glasses on the day of the dead are supposed to leave for Mori Karaeng, so that there they have the things in good condition.

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