Purpose of the study: The rambu solo’ ceremony is a traditional death ceremony of the Tana Toraja regency with roots in local beliefs. However, over time, the tradition has become associated with social status and economic motives. These changes have led to many issues. This article analyses the motivations that drive the compromises that families must accept when selecting a form of rambu solo’.

Methodology: This was a case study conducted in the village of Lemo in the regency of Tana Toraja. Primary data collected through in-depth interviews and observation. Informants consisted of cultural figures, religious figures, and indigenous locals with experience performing rambu solo’ — secondary data taken from existing literature about Toraja Regency.

Main Findings: Results showed that compromises taken for motives of social status were irrational but comprised the most common reasoning behind rambu solo’ ceremony selection. For those families motivated by social status, choice of rambu solo’ ceremony form performed for one of two reasons: preserving their social status ascribed to them from birth (attributed status)

Applications of this study: The selection of non-rapasanrambu solo’ ceremonies based on economic motives were rationally-sound but relatively rare. Avoiding wastefulness in the performing of rambu solo’ is done through simplifying the procession through shortening the storage period of the remains of the deceased before the rambu solo’ reducing the number of days of the rambu solo’ ceremony.

Novelty/Originality of this study: This shows that irrational decision-making, in the context of traditional ceremonies, cannot be considered irrational; even irrational decisions can be justified and explained based on individual interpretations of rationality based on local culture. Interestingly, social status was the most common motive form selection based on economic motives were rational but less popular among the people sound choice theory


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