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Traveling to a cemetery? Sounds Strange, But This is What We Did at Baby Grave Toraja

Traveling to a cemetery? Sounds strange, but this is what we did at Baby Grave Toraja


Cemeteries are usually thick with a scary impression, but unfortunately, this impression is very far away when visiting Kambira in Toraja. Known as a baby burial or Passiliran, Kambira offers a much different view.


Hearing the word funeral, your brain may easily remember rows of tombstones, frangipani trees, or astral figures. However, when we are in Kambira, the first thing that comes to our brains is not horror, but calm and coolness.


Instead, the gentle breeze that came to hit the faces around the baby's funeral gave us a peaceful effect. Around the tree, cement chairs are placed that visitors can use to relax.


If we weren't in a working position, we could have fallen asleep because we couldn't resist the temptation of the wind that accompanied our journey during our exploration in Toraja.


Passiliran doesn't look like a normal cemetery, around it there are towering bamboo trees. Whereas in the middle there is a large tree that stands tall and is fenced with an iron fence.


According to the narrative of Sima Batara, who was the guide for the coil, this tree was used as a burial place. The tree called tarra was chosen by the Toraja people in the past to bury their baby children.


Especially those who adhere to ancestral beliefs or better known as Aluk Todolo. This is because, according to ancestral beliefs, babies who have not yet grown teeth must be buried in a tree, so that their souls can survive to reach the afterlife.


Nek Sando, one of the Tominaa (priests) in the belief of the Toraja ancestor, Aluk Todolo, revealed that children who have not yet grown teeth should not be buried carelessly in rock or dirt burrows. If buried like adults, their souls will be struck by lightning.


"If this (baby) is put into a hole, it will be struck (by) lightning. That is certain, because of what? (Because) he said (their) soul would crawl like a snake, so that the lightning came and grabbed it, to be saved.


Sima explained that the tarra tree was chosen because it has a lot of sap and is milky white. So that it is considered to be able to replace the figure of breast milk for babies who die.


Babies who die and are buried in the tarra tree will be buried without a single thread. He will then be put into the tree in a curled up position, like the position of a baby in the womb.


Babies buried in tarra trees will be placed according to their family's social stratification. The higher the degree of his family, the higher the hole where he is buried.


The burial hole was also adjusted to the direction of his family's house. Usually a baby who dies will be buried in a hole that leads to his house, then covered with palm fiber so that oxygen can still enter.


Unfortunately, when the baby dies, their birth mother is not allowed to see for about a year. Even when they were buried.


According to past Torajan beliefs, seeing a dead baby is considered inappropriate and will reduce the chances of the mother having another healthy baby in the future. If it is related to the present, it is possible that in fact the taboo was applied in the past so that the mother did not feel sad for too long, so that she did not get stressed.


Passiliran in Kambira contains only one tarra tree. But that doesn't mean that only one baby is buried there. The reason is, in one tree, it can contain more than 10 babies.


Tarra trees must not be cut, because if they are cut down, then you are considered cutting off the continuity of life or the journey of the baby to the afterlife. Even though the tree was perforated to be used as a grave, according to Sima's narrative, the tarra tree lived like an ordinary tree.


Unfortunately, the tarra tree is no longer alive and rising since being struck by lightning. At the end of the tree, you will find a clump of palm fiber covering the tip of the top which also comes from a palm tree that was struck by lightning, and fell right on top of the tarra tree.


According to local residents, since the entry of religion, passiliran has no longer been used to bury Toraja babies. Since around the 1970s, burial of babies in tarra trees is no longer done.