Kamis, 18 Juni 2009

WHAT IS ULOS ?

Ulos is Batak traditional woven cloth. The Batak is an Indonesian ethnic mainly live in the area surrounding Lake Toba in the Province of North Sumatera, but also in other areas like Angkola and Mandailing which border the WS and Riau Prov. Around 60% or 3,5 millions people of Batak today live beyond their ancestral home or areas.

The word Batak simply means the people of God. Before big religions like Christianity and Islam embraced by the Batak, they lived with their old religion, parbaringin or parmalim, by which they worshiped Debata Mulajadi Nabolon or God the Almighty.

According to the Batak Mythology, on the order of Heaven, it was goddess Deak Parujar who weaved the first ulos, namely ragi idup that symbolize male and female or human fertility. Goddes Deak Parujar and god Raja Odapodap become the mother and father of the first earthly human, Raja (King) Ihatmanisia and Boru (Princess) Itammanisia. They continued in making of ulos, as ulos symbolizes the love and blessing of God Almighty. That is the reason that ulos is regarded as having sacred value. The giving or the granting of ulos symbolizes the good wishes or prayer that the recipient person may be granted with heavenly love and blessings. The are many pattern of ulos, like Ragi Idup, ragi hotang, which symbolizes maturity and authority, bintang maratur (ordered stars).

As a symbol of love and blessings, ulos is granted to a marrying couple by the mother and father of the bride and also by members of their clan. The suitable ulos to be granted by the mother and father of the bride is ragihotang. Other member of their clan may grant ulos sadum.

Ulos as a honoured souvenir to some one (leader, guest etc)
Until today it is the practice of Batak people to grant ulos to guest or honourable guest likes a leader(s) of community. In this respect the granted ulos is called Ulos Bulangbulang. Bulangbulang means a respected person for he or she is in the position to protect and promote the interestes of the said community. A piece of Ulos (ragiidup) laid down to guest/leaders shoulder by Older Batak Person (with his wife).

Some one could afford People of Batak believe in their long and old tradition to respect each other and to live in peace. Amazingly that in some patterns of ulos the Batak produced, there are inscription like : Dame ma di hita, means peace be with us. Yes, the believers would always enjoy peace and harmony. The Batak produced their uloses and developed their tradition in looking for heavenly peace and blessing through the granting of ulos among other things.


Bataks believe in peace as they are people of God Almighty, the God of Peace and Blessing. Your are most welcome to meet these peace loving peoples and enjoy the panorama of their inherited natural environment of super beauty, and watch the original Batak culture as lifehood, traditional music and dance. d to buy a ragiidup, but it doesn’t mean that he or she could wear it, for ther is an ethnic in the use of ulos. The first criterion to be able to ware ragiidp is that the person should have a status as ompung (grand father or grand mother).If they are poor peoples than they would choose the wear other pattern of ulos, something like ragihotang or runjat ina for woman, or runjat ama for man. But big leader who is in the position to protect and promote the community interest could be granted with ulos ragiidup, regardless his/her status as ompung or not.

Town and villages by Toba Lake are continuously producing nice uloses with hand weaving technique. Girls or women are the weavers of ulos.The production of ulos with the use of modern machineries is real challenge to them, because uloses made with machineries are much cheaper. Thanks that there are still some privileged peoples who prefer for the hand woven one.

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