Ulos, The Masterpiece Heritage of Batak
Ulos is the traditional cloth of the Batak people of North Sumatra. Different kinds of Ulos have different ceremonial significance. The ulos is normally worn draped over the shoulder or shoulders, or in weddings to ceremonially bind the bride and groom together. Ulos are traditional hand woven and in the case of higher-quality examples are significant family heirlooms, to be worn at important events, such as funerals and weddings.
In the past, before people knew about Batak made textiles, ulos was everyday clothes. When a man uses ulos, the top is called “Hande-hande”, the bottom is called singkot, and the head cover is called tali-tali or detar. When a woman uses it, the bottom up to the chest is called haen. The cloth to cover back is called hoba-hoba but when she uses it as a scarf, it is called ampe-ampe. The head cover is called a saong. If a woman holding a child, the back cover is called hohop hohop while the mean to carry the child is called parompa.
Until now this tradition of using the clothes can be seen in Tapanuli-hinterland. Not all ulos can be used daily. For examples are ulos jugja, ragi hidup, ragi hotang and runjat. Usually they are stored and used only at certain times.