Made from cotton, nylon or sisal, brightly colored or in muted tones, individual or big enough for a family to share: either way, stretching out in a comfortable, cool, enveloping hammock, can be a delicious moment that you will not want to ever end. It’s easy to imagine a hammock on a terrace on the beach or at any vacation place, to enjoy a book, take a nap, or to rest. Let’s learn more about this typical tropical necessity.
If we look for the origin of the hammock, we will see that it comes from fisherman’s nets. The custom of sleeping in them extended through the Americas and reached the Maya before the Spaniards arrived. Can you imagine how long this tradition has been around?
With the passing of time, the materials, threads and weaves have changed, but it is still a tradition in many countries, and of course in México. On the Yucatán Península, in almost every house, there is at least one hammock. If you’ve had the chance to visit a local house, you will have seen the “hamaqueros” in the bedrooms (and on some terraces): these are the supports especially designed for hanging hammocks. For many people, hammocks are the favorite option for sleeping.
Today you can find hammocks in different styles and designs, with fine crochet cotton, thick nylon with or without lace, offering longer durability, the best for open spaces; made as a swing, or folding chairs with wood, to use for sun bathing at the beach or beside the pool.
Still a handmade product crafted by local artisans, hammocks provide income for many families. This tradition is inherited from generation to generation. To make one takes 3 to 4 weeks and can be custom made; you can choose the size (single, double, queen, or king), materials, style, and colors, with prices ranging from $400 to $2,500 pesos. With the correct washing procedure, it can be used for many years. Don’t leave it outside, and hang it only when you are going to use it.
If you have decided to buy one, we suggest you look for one made of natural fibers. Tixkokob, 20 minutes from Mérida, is a must visit if you want to see the huge variety that exists. Also you can find them in the Centro of Mérida and in markets. Don’t forget to buy the complements: ropes, “hamaqueros” and the famous “S” hook hangers. Practice how to knot them, the same way the Maya did; it won’t become tangled if you do it correctly.
You can hang it from a strong wall, from trees, palm trees and on boats, at a height of about two meters. To wash it, make a knot in both “arms” and two or three in the hammock body; this will prevent it from getting tangled up. Put it inside a pillow case and then in the washing machine with cold water and soft detergent. Of course, you can also wash it by hand.
Are you ready to read the next edition of Yucatán Today from your hammock?
By Violeta H. Cantarell
– Península de Yucatán
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