The celebration is an annual festival in which preserved bodies of ancestors of the Toraja, an ethnic group from the mountains of South Sulawesi in Indonesia, are lovingly dug up from their graves as part of the ancient Ma’nene festival. Then, the bodies are groomed, washed and dressed in fashionable new clothes and even sunglasses before they are paraded round the village. The locals hold the festival in high esteem.
‘The ritual is held yearly and is regarded as a manifestation of the Torajanese’s love for their ancestors, leaders and relatives who have died.’
The age of the corpses varies, but some are more than 100 years old. The bodies are taken from their graves by their families then cleaned and washed. Their clothes are replaced and then the bodies are put back in the ground.
‘Some of the deceased men are dressed up in suits and ties. It was an amazing sight to witness.’