According to the Marapu belief there is life after death. Therefore, the funeral ceremony is actually the most important of all. With some tribes in Sumba, the body is bent like a baby in the womb. This position is a symbol of rebirth in the world of spirits. The coffin of the dead person is covered with a shroud of Ikat. The funeral celebration symbolizes the transition of the deceased person into the Marapu heaven. (Praing Marapu). The funeral ceremonies and funerals are usually a few days after death.
The funeral ceremony requires a large financial outlay for the family. Many mourners will have to travel, be accommodated and fed. They need a number of water buffalos, cows ... Sometimes such ceremonies will, therefore, take place several years after death, until enough money is available. In the meantime, the body of the deceased is kept on the top floor of the houses of the living or buried temporarily.
Depending on the region and the importance of the dead person, the mortuary and the funeral ceremony take 3 to more than 6 days. Chemical additives such as formalin and others are taken for granted today in the funeral process of Sumba.
The dead person will be buried in a megalithic tomb. There are single graves and "family graves", where several people can be buried. So the following ceremony is not part of every funeral.