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Ancestor story : Bombo, soul after death

One characteristic of the traditional belief of Toraja ancestors was the animism that had been adhered to for centuries before the arrival of the Dutch colonial. In 1913, the Christian denominator group called zending had existed in Toraja and began to spread Christianity.

With the growing teachings of Christianity since that time, animists have diminished. Even so, until now adherents of animism or traditional Toraja religion or commonly called aluk todolo are not completely lost.

Aluk todolo adherents can be easily found especially in the interior of Toraja.

Knowing or understanding how this ancestral belief is important or not is not something to be debated. On the one hand, the majority of ethnic Torajans have embraced Christianity which clearly rejects animism.

On the other hand, it is undeniable that aluk todolo had a big contribution to the dynamics of the Toraja culture from the beginning until now. So, knowing how aluk todolo is, it can be said, is the same as knowing the Toraja culture as a whole.

Bombo, soul after death

The soul that lives in man, after he dies for how long it will be left to roam as a spirit, in the Toraja language is called bombo, around his residence then after that goes to the land of spirits called puya or tana bombo.

This land of spirits was supposed to be at the mouth of the Sa’dan river in the southwest. These spirits live a life that is the same as the human way of life on earth. That is why people offer to the spirit of the dead buffalo, pigs, jewelry and so on.

What then happened with these souls after living in the spirit world, is unknown. According to ancestral tradition, they still died again several times and after they arrived back to their homeland as ants hiding in the grass, then they climbed into the air with smoke if there was something burning to stay floating there.

Because of that the spirit of someone who has died can still cause disaster for a long time, especially if he is still wandering around his residence. Therefore, his family who are still living are trying in every way to keep the spirit feeling happy, that is by always bringing offerings in the form of buffalo, pig, chicken and so on.

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