25November2017

Tiwah Tradition

With a very rich culture, Indonesia has a variety of rituals or traditions that are held from birth to death. Interestingly, all these rituals are unique and different each other. Like the death ritual held by Dayak people in Kalimantan. They held Tiwah tradition, the procession of delivering  spirit of the ancestral relatives who had passed away. Later, the corpse will be burned. The tradition is aimed to straighten the journey of spirit or the soul of relatives to Lewu or Heaven. In addition, with this ritual, the local people believe they can escape from bad luck and bad influences. The tradition is usually done to decide the widow's status for a woman whose her husband passed away. After conducting the tradition, the widow is allowed to choose whether she want to get married again or not.   

It is not easy, to hold the Tiwah tradition. It is required long preparation and quite large funds. In addition, the series of Tiwah procession also takes a long time, even more than a month. Therefore the timing of the operation is not specified, depending on the readiness of the family. Tiwah rituals is usually conducted by Kaharingan beliefs in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. The existing ritual since long time ago, and inherited from generation to generation has become a cultural icon for the Dayak community, especially those in Central Kalimantan.

In the implementation of Tiwah Ritual event, is usually performed other rituals as complementary such as Tantulak ceremony and the event of animals sacrifice such as buffalo, cattle and pigs. In the Dayak Kaharingan belief, a dead person must be delivered to Malian Hill. From the hill, the spirit will go to Ranying Hattala Langit (Heaven) until the family performs the tradition of Tiwah.

Generally the tradition is only held when one of the traditional leaders of Dayak tribe died. In the procession, the burning is not only done to the traditional leader, but also other bodies that have been buried. The bodies will be burned along with the customary leader. The tradition was held lively, involving almost the entire local community and used as a tourism icon.

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