In the village of Tana Toraja in Indonesia, babies who die before they begin teething are buried inside a tree trunk that is carved out for the purpose, in the belief that they can be re-absorbed by nature.
The village of Tana Toraja is located in the mountainous region of South Sulawesi, 186 miles north of the province’s capital of Makassar, Indonesia. They are known for their elaborate funeral rites.
This is done in the belief that the deceased babies can be re-absorbed by nature, through the trees.
The babies are first wrapped in fine clothes before interment, the tree trunks are carved and the infants are placed inside. The holes are then sealed over with palm fibre and, as the tree heals over time, the body is believed to be absorbed.
Dozens of babies are interred in each tree.
Interestingly enough, this bizarre ritual is not the only burial ritual the Torajans practise.
Family members of the deceased are known to exhume their ancestors’ bodies and change their clothes as a way of remembering them and then walk the dead around the village.