Hammock: a rainbow strung between two palm trees
The hammock is a network of intertwined threads and multiple colors that looks like a rainbow leaning on two palms. Most hammocks are artisan products and are found in most Colombian homes, especially on the Caribbean Coast and other hot regions.
Multi-colored hammock /Photograph: Mario Carvajal
The hammock serves as a bed, a sofa, a swing, and even a baby’s cradle. Those of you who have tried comfortable Colombian hammocks can tell us that the difference between a hammock and a bed is enormous.
We have to fit ourselves to the grid of a bed, but the hammock molds itself to our forms. The bed, hardly a fellow traveler of our desires, squares off sleep; but the hammock collaborates in the movement of our dreams. Now the bed requires us to take its manner, fixing us to itself, and we look for repose in a succession of positions. But the hammock takes on our individual shape and becomes one with our habits, answering individual form. The bed is rigid, predetermined, and angular. But the hammock is hospitable, comprehensive, and accomodating, ready to meet all the whims of our fatigue and the unforeseen containment of our tranquility. The old mother and the young wife. /Luis da Camara Cascudo. Rede de Dormir/
The hammock is a household item characteristic of the Colombian coasts, where the tropical climate makes it the ideal place for resting in the open air.
The hammock was the Indian’s bed. From the Indian, it passed to the Creole mestizo. It is the bed and the armchair of the man of the people. It comes from the remotest and deepest America. It forms an essential part of a way of life and, for that reason, is a philosophy of life. /Arturo Uslar Pietri/.
When Christopher Columbus landed in America, he encountered the hammock for the first time. It was called “ini” by the Antillean Indians. Columbus inquisitively observed how the natives rested placidly in them. Upon embarking on his return voyage to Spain, he took with him a few hammocks. They turned out to be very practical, as they reduced the space devoted to the sailors’ beds and kept the members of the crew refreshed during their rest hour.
In this very hot climate, there is nothing more pleasant than resting in a comfortable hammock, which is not only an element in Colombian tradition, but also a symbol of the creativity, tranquility, and harmony of our people in regard to their ancestral customs.
-the best way for lying in a hammock is crosswise; it is the only practice that guarantees true comfort while sleeping.