They say the dead live on in our hearts and minds – but in one Indonesian province, the deceased continue to walk the earth in a rather more literal, zombie-like fashion. In Torajana in South Sulawesi Indonesia, a tribe honors the deceased and shows its affection to the dead with a strange ancient custom. They dig them up, dress them in fancy new clothes and…take a stroll with them. Even dead children are exhumed – two of these photos show the skeleton of a baby wrapped in a print dress with a doll laid next to it.
Damaged coffins are fixed or replaced, and the mummies are then walked around the province by following a path of straight lines.
The ritual is called Ma’nene, or The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses.
According to the ancient Torajan belief system, the spirit of a dead person must return to his village of origin.
So if a person died on a journey, the family would go to the place of death and accompany the deceased back home by walking them back to the village.
In the past, people were frightened to journey far, in case they died while they were away and were unable to return to their village.