Toraja: The Sacrificed Animals at Rambu Solo - III

Bahasa Indonesia

Sacrificed animals are believed to join the deceased in the journey to Puya (a place in the south for the soul of the deceased which is taken care of by Puang Lalondong). The richer and the more powerful sacrifice as many as possible to make the journey faster. Besides buffaloes, they sacrificed stuff that the deceased might need on the journey like food, clothes and money. These rituals will determine whether one will be a ghost (Bombo), a god (To membali Puang) or an angel (Deata).

Buffaloes are led by their nose rings while pigs are carried tied between bamboo sticks.

Guests bring in the pigs and put them all on the ground inside the rante till their fate is decided.

From the 24 buffaloes required for a rapasan ceremony, at least one has to be a “special” buffalo (Tedong Tanda). Which buffaloes (Tedong) are considered special?

1. Tedong Saleko - The white / pinkish skinned buffaloes with black spots, ivory horns and white eyes. (The date I wrote this article is September 23rd, 2015, the highest price I have ever heard of one tedong saleko is US$ 117,000).
Unfortunately, we didn't meet any tedong saleko during our stay in Toraja, but we did see its statue in Deri distric.


2. Tedong Bonga - The black colored buffaloes with pinkish-white spots and blue eyes. (The price of this kind of buffalo can reach US $ 34,000)


3. Tedong Sokko - The upside-down horned buffaloes. Both horns grow downward and inward that they almost touch each other at the base of the neck. (The price is around US$17,000 in 2015). 250 jt. Bonga Sokko is the mixture of Bonga and Sokko characteristics that the price can soar very high.

4. Lotong Boko - The rarest kind, pinkish white skin with a big black spot on its back.

5. Tedong Todi - The black buffaloes with white spot on its head.

6. Tedong Tekken Langi' - The asymmetrical-horned buffaloes, one faces up and the other faces down. They believe this kind of buffaloes are sacred because they bear the sky with the one horn facing up while stick it’s other horn to the earth.
This tekken langi' statue stands at the same spot as the previous one.


7. Tedong Ballian - The long-spread side ways-horned buffaloes (sometimes it can reach up to two meters.) Most tedong ballian are spayed. They believe spayed buffaloes are bigger. The bigger the buffalo, the more valued it is.


Others are considered normal buffaloes.

  1. Tedong Podo - The black buffaloes. These buffaloes are used for Merok, Ma’bua, and Rambu Solo ceremonies.
  2. Tedong Sambao - The gray buffaloes.
  3. Tedong Bulan - The white buffaloes. These buffaloes are considered the lowest class buffaloes and may not be used for any ceremonies.

The value of a buffalo is judged by a team called Pa’ Tassere’ Tedong based on the variety, the length of it’s horn from one end to the other end, it’s strength at buffaloes fight, age and the size of its body. The value of a pig is determined by its waist / belly circumference.

Almost every family has at least one buffalo, pangkambi' tedong takes care of the buffalo, feed it and clean it.

Pangkambi' tedong and the tedong ballian under his care
An owner clean his buffalo.

Buffaloes are sacrificed almost at every kind of rituals. Their numbers are decreasing quickly that Torajans have to buy from other town.

Previous: Toraja: The Funeral Ceremonies - II

Next: Toraja: Where the Dead are Part of the Living Life - IVA


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