In the municipality of Calkini, located in the north of the Mexican state of Campeche, is the town of Bécalknown as the cradle of jipi and palm hats".
The "jipi-japa" or Carludovica palmata is a species of plant that belongs to the Cyclanthaceae. It is not a palm tree as such because it measures between 1.5 and 2.5m and does not have a large stem. However, it is very resistant because it is used to make basketry and hats. After three years of cultivation, it is collected and processed.
The palm of Chiit, known in the Yucatan Peninsula as "Huano" is a palm tree that measures between 3-7 m in length whose leaves are used to make hats and basketry. Basketry was of great importance in the Mayan cultureIt allowed them to perfect other methods such as interweaving or reticulation. After the Spanish conquest was the basis for the manufacture of hats made of local fibres, including the "huano".
The elaboration of the hats in "huano" or "jipi" palm and the basketry in general, is done in cellars, because they allow to keep the freshness and humidity required to work. This activity is carried out for most of the 11,000 inhabitants of the city; in each house there is a cellar in the garden to elaborate these products which require an average of one and a half hours of weaving, depending on the size of the articles.
The outside temperature is 35°C on average, so it's better to work in good conditions for the raw material and the artisan! Here is a video presentation of our collaborator, the restaurant Ki'Janal, which makes us know the city of Bécal and its palm handicraft.
You will find in the solidarity shop hand woven hats in 100% ecological palm. It is not too late to protect yourself from the sun while contributing to development!