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.
Deata, the spirit of the inhabitants of the universe
All living things and inanimate objects are considered inhabited by spirits, which in all cases must have a good relationship with them. Mountains, rocks, boulders, land, trees and springs are all inhabited by spirits.
Therefore if the first time people want to open a rice field or garden must be brought to the gods who live in the land there, to prevent any negative impacts that can occur.
If someone crosses a river carrying meat brought from a sacrificial feast, one has to drop a small piece of this meat into the water so that people do not get dragged into the depths.
Gods and spirits are called deata, which means god or spirit, namely the life force that animates all living things. Deata from rice is the life force stored in it. Deata from humans or animals is the spirit of life that lives in them.
The place that is thought to be inhabited by spirits is called to’deata; these places must be respected by humans.
The souls of buffaloes and pigs that were cut belonged to people who died in the spirit world, as well as the spirits of weapons, clothing, jewelry and money that was included for him at his funeral.
What is intended for the dead cannot be taken by living people anymore because this will bring disaster. For example a cottage that has been established, after the party has to be burned or left to stand, the materials must not be used for other purposes other than for parties or ceremonies of death.
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