Ma'nene Festival: Villagers Dig Up Their Dead Relatives And Dress Them In New Clothes

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All cultures have a way of celebrating the ones who have passed away. It might be funerals, it might be simply telling stories, or it might be the huge holiday like Halloween. But few come as close to the dead as the Ma'Nene festival that takes place in the Tana Toraja province of Sulawesi, Indonesia, where people spend quality time with their deceased loved ones -- quite literally.

Warning: Contains graphic content!

The Ma'nene Festival in Indonesia is held once every three years by the Torajan people. The ritual has been going on for more than a century.

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The tribe from Sulawesi island exhume their dead, who they wash and dress in fresh clothes and then pose for family photographs in a festival known as Ma'nene.

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The funeral is never the last time their relative's body is seen. Whenever an elderly villager dies, their body is wrapped in several layers of cloth to prevent decay.

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Some of the bodies are even propped up so the family can gather around them, just as they would when the person was alive.

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Looking into the face of death like this isn't seen as scary or sad, but rather as a way to connect with death -- and transcend it.

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In the Torajan belief system, death is not a final step, but just one step in an ongoing spiritual life.

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Torajan people believe the spirit of a dead person should always return to their village of origin, a belief which has deterred many from ever leaving their home in case they die while on the journey and their body cannot be returned.

Ma'Nene might seem strange, maybe even distasteful, to those outside of this culture. But in a society that seeks to get as far away from death as possible, it's refreshing to see people embrace and celebrate it so readily.

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