It is said that centuries ago, all valleys in a region of the island of Sulawesi were inundated by water and only the plateau in the form of mountains was visible. The visible plain looks like small islands.
The ancient story told from generation to generation in the Toraja community says that their ancestors came by using boats (lembang) from the south. From the sea they followed the Sa’dan river to the north.
By going along the river, the group arrived in groups with their boats and chose islands (mountains) as their respective territories. These groups are called arroans. These people are the first ancestors of the Toraja tribe.
They stopped when their boat could no longer continue the journey. They then went ashore and built settlements.
From the mountains they looked around and saw that the land was round like a moon. When the sun began to shine and illuminated the whole land, they called it nagonting matari’ allo’. Ancestors later named this region as a tondok lepongan bulan, tana/nagonting matari’ allo. They were finally known as “To (people) Lepongan Bulan” or people who lived in Lepongan Bulan.
It is said that a long time ago there was an ancestor who succeeded in opening a water breakthrough in Sapan Deata so that the lowlands in the Lepongan Bulan region were no longer inundated. This is evidenced by the discovery of sea shells, snails and so on in mountain caves.
That was the initial designation for the land where the Toraja first ancestors settled. The mention of the name “Toraja” did not exist at the time, because it was only used several generations afterwards. After using the name Toraja better known, the first name above is then used as a title for Toraja.
Although geographically, the territory occupied by ancestors and their descendants is not really round, but the naming of the title is more directed towards a philosophy. Tondok lepongan bulan, tana matari’ allo means that a country with a form of community and government forms a rounded unity like the moon and the sun.
Tondok Lepongan Bulan (Toraja) is an alliance consisting of 32 indigenous territories. This means that Toraja is not governed by a single ruler, but by each of the traditional leader in each indigenous area. The customary area is different but has the same view of life and beliefs as a bond that unites all Toraja people.