Living With the Dead: A Look at Indonesian Death Rituals

The speaker of this fascinating TED talk is Kelli Swazey, an anthropologist married into an Indonesian clan. She talks about the extraordinarily unusual death rituals of her adopted people, rituals that go on for years before and after death. Corpses are brought into the household, fed, clothed, washed and generally treated as a living member of the family. The lack of death fear in this society seems to promote long life and little fear and even less emphasis on illness. We have much to learn from the people of Tana Toraya, although some of their beliefs and practices, primarily animal sacrifices, are unnecessary remnants of outdated shamanistic traditions.