SOUTH SULAWESI

South Sulawesi province comprises the narrow southwestern peninsula of this orchid-shaped island, which is mainly mountainous. The seafaring Bugis dominant the southern tip, whereas the northern part of South Sulawesi is inhabited by the Toraja whose unique culture rivals that of the Balinese. Famed for their seafaring heritage and Phinisi schooners for centuries, the Bugis possess to the present day one of the last sailing fleets in the world.

Tana Toraja

Toraja's Cave Cemetery
The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi (Sulawesi Selatan Province), Indonesia. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja ("Land of Toraja"). Most of the population is Christian or have local animist beliefs known as aluk ("the way"). The Indonesian government has recognized this animist belief as Aluk To Dolo ("Way of the Ancestors"). The word toraja comes from the Bugis language's to riaja, meaning "people of the uplands". The Dutch colonial government named the people Toraja in 1909. Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days. Before the 20th century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert. 

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