Offerings are indeed the core of Toraja ritual practice, the 'serious' part of the proceedings, but the 'play' (which in ma'bugi' and maro includes trance and possession by the deata) is just as critical to the success of a ceremony, whether it be designed to please the spirits or the ancestors.
Ruru' or maruru' means 'straightforward, honest, upright', 'honourable, sincere', or 'faithful' (Tammu and Veen 1972:498).(8) This same deity also presides over the ma'bugi' rite as practised in southern and central areas.
And what of the two great related festivals, ma'bugi' and maro, to which the same deity is also invited?
The wounds were rubbed with the rice leaves that sprout after harvesting, and the deata were supposed magically to heal the wounds.(36) This echoes the rubbing of the trancers' wounds with tabang leaves in the maro and ma'bugi'.
A comparison of ma'pakorong with Crystal and Yamshita's (1987) account of the ma'bugi' makes clear how closely related these two rituals are, for in spite of their obvious differences, many of the same features recur.
Nooy-Palm notes that the terms bugi' (Bugis) and balanda (Dutch) feature in songs sung at the bugi' ritual, as designations of 'that which is considered to be abnormal, extraordinary or eccentric'; mention is also made of To Paragusi (The Portuguese), an evil spirit which must be venerated at this feast (Nooy-Palm 1986:139).
Nooy-Palm records, however, that in the Tikala area, where she witnessed a ma'bugi' ritual, offerings to Datu Mangambo', the Lord of Smallpox, were made on Cordyline leaves and not pasakke.
Nooy-Palm writes of a ma'bugi celebration in Tikala that there, offerings of both raw and cooked food must be made to Datu To' Mangambo', for it is believed that 'Lord Smallpox is a man with two sides to his character.
1987 'Power of Gods: Ma'Bugi' Ritual of the Sa'dan Toraja', in R.
This paper gives an account of a little-known ritual which is practised in the western districts of Tana Toraja, in the highlands of South Sulawesi.(1) This ritual, called ma'pakorong, is addressed to a frightening figure: the goddess of pox, Puang Ruru', a deity characterized by the Toraja as Bugis, and held to be responsible, in former times, for smallpox and other pestilences, as well as chickenpox and skin diseases generally.