If you’ve ever taken a siesta (aka an afternoon nap) in your Mexican hammock, you may be wondering where your awesome Mayan hammock came from.
Did you know when you buy a Mayan hammock, you’re directly impacting the Mayans’ economy? Here’s a little more you may not have known about the beautifully woven Mayan hammocks many of us relax in every single day.
Put on your thinking cap and save this info for your next trivia night, because you’re about to step back in time to about 4,000 years ago when Mayan people first began weaving hammocks.
It’s said that the word “hammock” is likely from "hamack,” which is the tree whose fiber the Mayans first used to make these suspended beds. Although the tree fiber has since been replaced by softer materials, the hammock weaving method has stayed the same—which is, quite frankly, amazing!
The Mayan civilization began weaving hammocks in 2000 B.C. Then, in the fifteenth century, Europeans caught wind of the suspended bed idea when the Spanish invaded the Americas or “the New World.” The Spanish saw an opportunity for using these beds aboard their ships to fit more crewmembers. They are the ones who adapted the hammock to be much narrower (like those we still use today).
Hammocks, among other crazy “New World exotica” such as tobacco and canoes, became fascinating to Europeans ever since Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage, and thanks to him, the rest of us have been delighting in suspended sleep for centuries to come.
Besides their vibrant colors and sweet designs, perhaps the thing we love the most about Mayan hammocks is how they’re made. There is no sweatshop action or seedy manufacturing practices with authentic Mayan hammocks. Weaving hammocks is an irreplaceable part of Mayan culture and history, passed along from generation to generation of Mayan women.
Because the work is done at home, the Mayan women weaving hammocks can relax and watch their children while making a living. When you buy a Mayan hammock, you are directy affecting families’ incomes in the Mayan civilizations still thriving today. Many of the Mayan people are concentrated in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and their communities are greatly strengthened every time you choose to buy a hand-woven Mayan hammock.
And there’s a reason these hammocks are so dang comfortable. They’re made using a triple-weave, which creates a sort of lattice when gently pulled apart. The process involves a netting needle and a loom, and requires quite a bit of skill.
If you’re not familiar with knitting or weaving, there’s a good chance you will get lost trying to understand the terminology, so instead of trying to make your own Mayan hammock, we recommend making a Mayan mother jump for joy and buying one from us.
Now that you know more about Mexican hammocks and Mayan hammocks, you might want to take asiestain yours… You know, for continued research.
Happy (Mexican Hammock) hanging!