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Ulos cloth is a typical hand-woven cloth from the Batak tribe. This cloth is often used as a typical souvenir from North Sumatra.
Not just a cloth, a piece of ulos contains a deep meaning. There is a philosophy in every typical Batak ulos.
Maybe people from outside the Batak tribe know cloth originating from the Toba region, there is only one type of ulos. However, actually ulos consists of various types.
Ulos was officially designated by the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud) as one of Indonesia’s intangible cultural heritages on October 17, 2014. The Ministry of Education and Culture has also designated October 17 as National Ulos Day.
The history of ulos dates back to the 14th century. As quoted from cultural heritage.kemendikbud.go.id, the emergence of ulos coincided with the entry of hand looms from India.
Ulos was originally used as a body warmer for the ancestors of the Batak tribe who lived in the mountains. No wonder the ulos is a symbol of warmth for the Batak people.
Ulos cannot be used haphazardly. This is because different types, then the meaning is also different. So it’s a good idea to ask people who understand ulos, before buying or using it.
Anthony Siallagan, a tour guide in Balige, has experience meeting local tourists who bought the wrong ulos.
“So the mother bought ulos with the motif used when coming to mourn the dead. He thought it was for a party,” explained Anthony to Kompas.com in the Balige area in pre-Covid coverage, Thursday (5/12/2019).
Here are 14 types of ulos cloth and their meanings:
1. Ulos Yeast Hotang
Ulos Ragi Hotang is usually used at parties or given to newly married couples. The hope is that the two of them have an inner bond.
2. Ulos Sibolang
Ulos Sibolang is usually used at times of mourning. Therefore, Ulos Sibolang is usually referred to as a symbol of sorrow.
3. Ulos Mangiring
This ulos has a pattern that goes hand in hand with each other. It symbolizes fertility and compactness.
This ulos is usually given to a newborn child, especially the first child. The goal is that the child will be accompanied by the birth of the next child.
4. Ulos Yeast Huting
In the past, this ulos was usually used by girls at parties. The way to wear it is to wrap it around the chest which is called Hoba-hoba.
In accordance with the times, this Ragi Huting ulos is increasingly difficult to find.
5. Ulos Bintang Maratur
Ulos Bintang Maratur depicts a regular row of stars, meaning to show people who are obedient, loyal, and get along in a family bond.
These ulos are usually used at parties. © Provided by Kompas.com Illustration of various types of Batak ulos cloth
6. Live Yeast Ulos
Ulos Yeast of Life or Ulos Ragidup symbolizes life and happiness in offspring with longevity (saur matua).
Ulos is usually used at the time of the party.
7. Ulos Pinunsaan
Ulos Pinunsaan is one of the most expensive ulos. This ulos is usually worn by kings and worn at parties.
8. Ulos Simarinjam Sisi
This ulos is worn at a party by one of the people who is at the forefront of the party.
9. Ulos Lobu-lobu
This type of ulos usually has very special needs, especially for people who often get into misfortune.
10. Ulos Sitoli Tuho
This ulos is used as a head tie or rope by Batak girls.
11. Ulos Suri-suri Na Ganjang
Ulos Suri-suri Na Ganjang is given to newlyweds. Ulos is also used as Hande-Hande (shawl). This ulos is also known as Ulos Gabe-gabe. © Provided by Kompas.com How to make ulos cloth traditionally done by one of the craftsmen who are 86 years old in the Meat Tourism Village
12. Ulos Tumtuman
This ulos is worn as a headband by someone to show that the person in question is the first child.
13. Ulos Speech
Ulos Tutur-tutur is used as a head band given by parents to their children (offspring).
14. Ulos Antak-anak
This ulos is used as a shawl for parents to mourn people who have died. In addition, the ulos is also used as a cloth wrapped around when dancing.