Waruga, Funeral Tradition of The Minahasa Tribe


INDEPHEDIA.com - The Minahasa tribe in North Sulawesi Province (North Sulawesi), has a unique and different funeral tradition from other tribes in Indonesia.

While the people of Tanah Toraja, South Sulawesi Province, have a unique tradition of burying their dead in rocky cliffs, the people of the Minahasa tribe, North Sulawesi, have previously carried out a unique tradition of burying their bodies.
This funeral tradition is known as Waruga. The word Waruga comes from 'waru' which means 'house' and also from the word 'ruga' which means 'body'. Thus, Waruga means the house where the body will return to heaven.

The Waruga tradition began to be used by the Minahasa tribe, estimated since the IX century. Waruga, burial of the body in a hollow stone box covered with a triangular stone.

The position of the corpse in the rock is shaped like a baby in the womb, where the heel touches the buttocks, and the mouth seems to kiss the knee. Minahasa people believe that humans die in the same position when they were born into the world.

Apart from being positioned like a baby in the womb, the body is also placed facing north, indicating that the Minahasa tribe's ancestors came from the north.

The Waruga tradition was no longer carried out around 1860 because it was banned by the Dutch. The reason for the ban was because there was an epidemic of bubonic plague, typhoid and cholera. It is feared that the disease can spread through the gaps in the Waruga box.

As for those who can be buried in Waruga, only selected people. People with high social status buried in Waruga are also depicted through the carvings on the cover.

The cover, which is engraved with pictures of several people, shows that the one buried is a family and if there is a motif of a woman having children, it indicates that the one who is buried is a dukun beranak, while pictures of animals show that what is buried in Waruga is the body of a hunter.

Traces of the Megalithic burial can be found in the Waruga Sawangan Archaeological Park in North Minahasa Regency.

This ancient park is a favorite historical tourist destination for travelers, both domestic and foreign. In this cemetery complex there are around 144 Waruga that can be found. (US/IND)

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