Remote tribe digging up mummified remains of family members in annual ritual

Families in a remote tribe have dug up their mummified relatives, dressed them up and taken selfies with them in an ancient ceremony to honour their spirits.

The Manene ritual is carried out by the Torajan people every year and sees deceased family members unearthed from their graves and given a clean.

The Torajan people, in Indonesia, believe death is just one step in a soul’s journey through the universe.

And every year they dig up the remains of their dead relatives in a bid to “obtain good fortune”.

Their skeletons are washed, dressed in their favourite clothes and laid out to dry before being buried once more.

Corpses are dressed in bandanas, given cigarettes and treated with water and food.

Some skeletons are even given glasses and scarfs as they are laid out in the sun to dry after their wash.

During the elaborate ceremony bodies are kept wrapped in blankets in a traditional ancestral house called a tongkonan, which has a distinct boat shaped roof.

Rony Passang, whose family carried out the tradition on Saturday, said: “Sometimes we even have a conversation with them, asking them to wish us health, prosperity and health.”

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Villages retrieve the mummified bodies from the ground before slaughtering a pig and feasting to celebrate the occasion.

The death of a relative usually involves many intricate ceremonial steps for Torajan people.

Bodies are mummified through a process that uses sour vinegar and tea leaves – or through a formaldehyde solution.

The souls of the dead are then freed months later during an elaborate multi-day funeral ceremony called Rumbo Solo.

"My mother died suddenly, so we aren’t ready yet to let her go," a Torajan woman, Yohana Palangda, spoke to National Geographic in 2016.

She added: "I can’t accept burying her too quickly."

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