Earlier this month, hundreds of people in South Sulawesi joined in celebrating traditional Indonesian dances during the annual Toraja cultural festival.
Toraja is an indigenous group in the mountainous region of South Sulawesi. An annual cultural festival called the “Lovely Toraja” showcases the ethnic group's traditional songs and dances. This year's event was held at Rantepao City on November 9.
The festival started with 500 students performing the kick-fighting dances of Sisemba and Pagellu. It was followed by the war dance Ma'tenten, which was played while a buffalo was sacrificed in a traditional ceremony. Next, dancers performed a Mangaru’ dance—a dance that was originally composed to honor the community's leader. A warrior dance (called “Ma'randing“) welcomed distinguished guests in a grand ceremony for the nobility. The dancers featured uniformed soldiers carrying a large shield and sword.
Toraja’s oldest dance, Pa'Tirra’, was performed during the ceremony Rambu Tuka’ (an expression of gratitude to God). This dance is believed to have descended from the sky with Puang Matua, the Almighty Creator in Nabua ceremony. Dancers used weapons made from bamboo while screaming continually to drive away evil.
In addition to dance and song presentations, a procession of six albino buffaloes was also a highlight of the program. Buffalo is an animal sacrifice in the death ceremony in Toraja. After the animal offering ritual, buffalo horns are used to decorate Tongkonan, the traditional house in Toraja.
The festival was witnessed by ambassadors from Zimbabwe, Chile, Croatia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mongolia, and other diplomats from ten countries. An estimated 110,000 people visited the region to join in the Toraja festivities.
Below are some pictures from the 2015 “Lovely Toraja” festival: