The tree of the dead children

Burial practices are differing in all parts of the world. What did humans not think off in order to secure themselves hope for an afterlife. They built pyramids, stonehenges, churches and temples.

One of the strangest and, still, most touching burial practices exists in Indonesia with the tribe of the Tana Toraja. It’s the tree of the dead children.

The Tana Toraja have many specific burial habits and are well-known for that all over the island of Sulawesi and beyond. They seem to care more than others. And their regard for their dead children is special.

When in the region a child is dead born or dies in its earliest days of childhood, it is not buried in a normal grave. A hole is opened in a special, venerated tree in the jungle and the small child is placed in that opening. The little tree grave is with much care covered and usually the tree heals over the wound inflicted in its stem. Thus, the tree in some way lives the life of the child that should have lived and did not. The tree is over time used for many such burials, until finally it dies. After having lived the life of many little beings entrusted to it for many years, in the middle of the jungle of Sulawesi.

U.C. Ringuer

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