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How Valuable is Buffalo to Toraja Ethnic?

If you are reading this blog-post, you might have visited Toraja in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. In your trip, you might have seen buffaloes which are everywhere in Toraja. If you missed them, you might have seen their horns hanging in front of custom home called 'Tongkonan'. Have you ever wondered how valuable is buffalo to Toraja Ethnic?

About Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Toraja was divided into North Toraja (Rantepao) and Tana Toraja (Makale) in 2008. Prior to now, they was one - known as Toraja. Toraja is populated by more than 1 million people which is dominated by Christians. Toraja is located in highland - a mountainous region of Sulawesi Selatan. To get there, you have to invest 8 to 9 hours by road trip. When you land in the capital of South Sulawesi - Makassar, go take your bus to Toraja. The best service is provided by Primadona - its representative office is located near Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport. It supports online reservation via Android and iOS. The buses leave at 9 at night. If you need assistance, just call me when you are in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Toraja is one of the top producing coffee areas in Indonesia. People call it "Kopi Toraja". It provides good quality robusta and arabica coffee which are popular in Indonesia. Because of its fame, Toraja becomes the symbol of South Sulawesi. In almost all vital areas in South Sulawesi, you will see 'Tongkonan' with buffalo horns stuck on it.

3 Buffalo Species in Toraja

Buffalo is one of the symbols of Toraja. It is worth everything to Toraja Ethnic. The most expensive buffalo in Toraja is known as 'Tedong Saleko' which costs more than USD 70,000 (USD 1 = Rp. 14,000). Two other species are respectively known as 'Tedong Bonga' which costs slightly cheaper than the former and 'Tedong Ballian' which its horns might reach 2 meters long - its' price is also expensive. 'Tedong' (Toraja language) literally means buffalo. In bahasa Indonesia, we call it 'kerbau'.

In Toraja's custom feast, you will see many buffaloes. It is slaughtered and sacrificed to the deceased who is regarded powerful - important person who holds high status in Toraja ethnic. The higher the status of a person who died, the more buffaloes should be sacrificed. Furthermore, the death ceremony is usually held in weeks, months, and even years. That is why buffalo is treated as sacred animal by Toraja ethnic.

Are you interested in visiting Toraja, South Sulawesi? I offer backpacker-friendly service for you. A good news is that one of my close friend - the local of Toraja is waiting for your come. He and his family offer free accommodation for you (less than 5 persons). If you want to take this offer, just message me. Find my contact page on the bottom of this page.

Greetings in Bahasa Toraja

Here are some greetings that you can use when you visit Toraja.

NOTE: Words with quotation marks (') are pronounced with glottal stop.

good morning selama' melambi
good afternoon selama' tangallo
good evening selama' mabongi
thank you kurre sumanga'

Need more phrases to assist your travel? Read Survival Phrases in Makassar and Toraja