According to Local beliefs, Tana Toraja was delivered from “tau raya” means great person, or king. “Tana” means land. So, “Tana Toraja” means land of the kings or land of royal descendents. This belief stemmed from a myth that Toraja ancestor came down from heaven using “stairway from the skies”.The Bugis Sidenreng tribe called Toraja People “To Ria ja” that means people who live in the high country or mountains. Meanwhile, the Luwu tribe called them “To Ria jang” means people who live in the west. Since I’am Toraja, I prefer the first one, “land of royal descendants”.
The antropologist research states that population of Tana Toraja is result of acculturation process between immigrants from Tongkin Bay, China and the indigenous people of South Sulawesi. This process began when Indo-Chinese immigrant in large numbers landed upriver somewhere in the Enrekang area, after which they settled down.
Majority of Toraja Population are Christian. Long before they embraced Christianity, they followed a set of religious commandments called Aluk Todolo. The ancestors believed that every human being on Earth had been provided with the Aluk. Until now, the Toraja tribe still practises its edicts, along with their newer faiths. Aluk Todolo is the source of a number of unique rituals to Tana Toraja.
Thought Toraja cultural variety has never changed, the administrative status of Tana Toraja has undergone several permutations over the years. In 1926, Tana Toraja was designated as Onder Afdeeling Makale Rantepao, under the administrative jurisdiction of Luwu. In 1946, Tana Toraja seceded into the autonomous Swaraja. In 1957, the region changed again into kabupaten Dati II Tana Toraja. Finally, in 1999, Tana Toraja was officially registered as Kabupaten Tana Toraja, a tourists destination with a popularity to rival that of Bali’s.
Kluwek ( in Toraja Language : Pamarrasan) is the condiment of choice for Toraja cooking, as it is used in almost every Toraja dish,such as grilled or stew fish, pork and chicken. This dish called “Pantollo Pamarrasan”. This condiment is from the seeds. The fruit is made as dish called “pangi”. Pangi is cooked with pork, and the main condiment is pamarrasan.
Pa’piong is another Toraja famous cuisine. Pa’piong made from pork/fish/chicken, inserted into bamboo pipe and grilled. Similiar with Nasi Jaha from Manado, Toraja also has Pa’piong Bo’bo. Pa’piong is cuisine inserted into bamboo pipe and grilled, bo’bo means rice (specifically, sticky rice).
Coffee is the Toraja people’s most famous product that is not only consumed domestically, but also internationally. The largest investor in Tana Toraja coffee is Japan ( I think, why don’t Indonesia?). You can see cofee plantation along with terraced paddy fields in Toraja scenery.
Lada Katokkon ( Lada means chili, and katokkon is a kind of chili). It is Toraja’s distinctive, strawberry-shaped chili that is hotter than a chili pepper (somehow, I’m proud of it :p ). Bulunangko (Mayana) is vegetable that often presents at Toraja events. It color is purple (some of it is purple-green), and tasting like slightly more sour spinach, slightly bitter and cooked with fish, pork or chicken. Passion fruit and eggplant (tamarela) also soybean are favourite ingredient used in welcome drink for toraja guest.
This article from “TORAJA , The Sacred High Land” with necessary modifications.
Source image :
my own photos