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Here, Living With Dead Bodies For Weeks–Even Years–Is Tradition

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National Geographic | March 2017

On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the Torajan people believe that a person is not truly dead until water buffalo have been sacrificed at their funeral, serving as the vehicle to the afterlife. Until that time, the bodies are may be kept at the family's home for weeks, months or years and are fed and cared for as if they were alive. Some Torajans continue their relationship with the dead through a ma'nene' ceremony, a type of "second funeral" in which families bring out their ancestors every few years and change their clothes and clean their bodies and crypts.