In celebration of Christmas and New Year, the spotlight will turn to the scenic highlands of Toraja in South Sulawesi Province, where the Lovely December 2017 festivities will take place from 5th to 31st December 2017. During near to one whole month, many exciting events and festivities will be held across these highlands in both the North Toraja Regency and Tana Toraja Regency.
Image source: Tribun Toraja
This year, the annual festival has taken up the theme: “Unforgettable Heavenly Experience” expressing the exceptional ambiance of these highlands with all its unique wonders.
Highlighting the festival are 7 main Programs, namely: the Coffee Festival, a Bulls Contest and Bull Fight, Christmas Choirs Competition, Traditional Food and Beverage Fiesta, Art and Culture Festival, Sports Tourism, as well as Fun and Fury Paragliding. One of the most anticipated features of the festival is the ‘Tedong’ or Bull Parade which will feature the strongest and finest ‘fighter’ Bulls from all 23 sub-districts across the North Toraja Regency.
Image source: sekalijalan.com
None other than the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo himself, is scheduled to be present at this unique Festival. The presence of President Jokowi (as he is familiarly known) definitely confirms the event’s magnitude and significance.
Image source: Sekolah Kerajinan Desaku
"Discovered" and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last century, the Toraja people today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions, although many have modernized or have become Christians. When one travels to the Tana Toraja highlands, therefore, expect to be awed by the spectacular beauty of nature, at the same time experience how communities have through the ages kept up their beliefs and traditions in splendid isolation in order to live in harmony in this eternal cycle of life and death on earth.
Beyond any doubt, what makes Toraja special are its fascinating burial sites and the unique elaborate funeral ceremonies. One outstanding feature of the ceremonies is the ‘Tedong Silaga’ or Bull Fight. Based on this tradition, the finest and strongest bulls of the region will face off in a one on one duel to entertain the families and their hundreds of guests.
Image source: yellowdoor
It is no secret that the people of Toraja, especially the nobility, bury their deceased relatives and loved ones in a most unique way. Here, one will discover that unlike most cultures, the dead are not buried deep in the ground but are instead placed high up inside rocky cliffs, in caves or even inside carved holes in huge boulders. These burial sites can be found in many places in Toraja. Aside from the already more well-known sites such as Londa, Lemo, and the traditional village of Kete’Kesu, there are still many other sites throughout the highlands including at Lo’ko Ma’ta,- considered as the largest granite boulder burial site, - the cave of Tampang Allo, and also at the Kalimbuang Bori’ Village.
Image source: yellowdoor
But for those not inclined to visit burial sites should travel to Toraja to see the huge statue of Jesus Christ, resembling the statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro, blessing this mountain region of Toraja. River rafting on the Sa’dan river is also one of the other challenging ways to enjoy sport tourism here, while many tourists love trekking in the cool mountain air, enjoying awe-inspiring panorama.
Image source: Nature Ed.
And to be enjoyed by all is, of course the Toraja Coffee where these highlands are renowned as producer of some of the best coffee in the world. Not only can you taste this wonderfully steaming hot coffee in the cold of the mountains but do bring home this amazing coffee on your visit to the coffee plantation and explore how the seeds are produced and processed to give that fabulous aromatic morning cup of coffee.
Image source of header banner: Indonesia Tourism Forum