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 traditionally 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.
According to Batak people, there are 3 sources of warmthness for human; Sun, Fire and Ulos. Ulos is said to be a source of warmth because they were living on cold mountains. This natural condition makes the sunlight insufficient to give warmth especially at night. Then, they create something that is able to give them warmth, also believed to be able to give the men bravery and the women strength against infertility .
At first, Ulos was only used as an ordinary cloth. But it later developed to a symbol of love, traditional ceremony requirements, and society structural system symbol. Even Ulos is believed to have magical religious power and thus considered 'sacred' and that it has special power to protect the user.
There are many kinds and motives of Ulos, which have their own respective meaning in accordance to the characteristic, condition, function, and some relation. When it is used given to whom, and which traditional ceremony like wedding, birth, death and other rituals will never run without Ulos. If Ulos is used by a man, the upper part of it is called ande-ande, the lower called singkot, the one used on head called tali-tali, bulang-bulang or detar. But, because of its sacred value, not all Ulos can be used in daily activities. Ulos Jugja, Sadum, Ragidup, and Runjat are only used in some occasions. In everyday life, men wear Ulos in box pattern with black shirt named baju Kurung without shoes nor sandals.