Creepy Indonesian Festival Sees The Dead Dug Up And Dressed In ‘Favourite’ Clothes

Agung Parameswara

So every three years in Indonesia people like to dig up deceased loved ones, give them a clean, and put them in their ‘favourite’ clothes apparently.

The incredibly odd Ma’nene festival is a celebration of life, and is enjoyed by a small group of people known as Torajans, who hail from the mountainous region of Tana Toraja.

Ma’nene festival translates as ‘the Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses’, and it is believed the spirits of the dead will bless the living for taking care of them.

Agung Parameswara
Agung Parameswara

According to Agung Parameswara, who captured each of the peculiar images, the tradition has been practiced for more than 100 years.

It supposedly began in the village of Baruppu after a hunter called Pong Rumasek discovered a body decaying under a tree in the mountains. He dressed the corpse in his own clothes and buried it, believing it resulted in good fortune.

Agung Parameswara
Agung Parameswara

Funerals are incredibly spiritual and extravagant affairs, with many saving their entire lives in order to fund the affairs.

Torajans also believe that they should be buried in the place where they spent the most time, often leading to disputes between families, especially if someone chooses to be buried with a partner over blood relatives.

Michaela Budiman wrote in Contemporary Funeral Rituals of Sa’dan Toraja that “It is remarkable that in some cases the families will quarrel where the departed should be buried. A person buried in the “wrong place” is known as a topusa [lost person].”

Agung Parameswara

It is bizarre, but equally heartwarming to see how the dead are revered. Given the state of disrepair so many cemeteries are in, perhaps we could learn a thing or two about honouring deceased loved ones.


Kieron Curtis

An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest... not forgetting his time at ASDA.