In Chalatenango, El Salvador, 400 people in the town of Llano Grande, Concepción Quezaltepeque have worked for 28 consecutive days to weave together an enormous hammock, hoping to break the world record, but have they done it?
According to El Diaro de Hoy, the hammock made up of 17 different colored stripes, measures 7 meters wide and 60 meters long. The artisans, who began the work on July 21st of this year, wove the hammock hoping not only to attract tourism to their town but to beat the world record for the longest hammock.
"The workers of Llano Grande," says the El Diario de Hoy article, "… have the satisfaction that they have surpassed a hammock in Mexico, which is registered as the largest at only 30 meters."
The hammock referenced in the article is one found in Berriozabal, Mexico which measures 30 meters long and 3 meters wide, making the hammock in El Salvador twice as big – but what if Mexico didn't actually hold the world record for the largest hammock? It's looking like that might be the case.
If you search the internet for phrases such as "World's Largest Hammock" in English or Spanish, you will come up with a variety of results and multiple countries claiming the title. There's a 33-foot-long hammock which appeared as a two week art installation in a Boston, Massachusetts park; a 42-foot-long hammock in Point Harbor, North Carolina which is open for tourist-use; and a 12 meter-long hammock in Nicaragua.
All of these hammocks are by far smaller than the hammock in El Salvador yet there is only one hammock that holds the Guinness World Record – and that title belongs to a hammock made by The Hessenstam Hattem of the Voerman Scouting Group in Hattem, Netherlands. On June 22, 2002, the 129.29 meters-long hammock was awarded the title of "Longest Hammock" by Guinness World Records.
In photos and videos, The Hessenstram Hattern hammock resembles a fishing net made of white string – a much simpler design than the intricately woven, colorful hammock in El Salvador. At 2.5 meters wide, The Hessenstram Hattern hammock is also much narrower than the Salvadoran hammock.
Due to these differences, I contacted a representative of Guinness World Records to ask a few questions. First, I wanted to know what officially qualifies as a "hammock" according to Guinness World Records – the word seems loosely defined judging from the appearance of The Hessentram Hattern hammock. There's no doubt that much time went into the creation of The Hessentram Hattern hammock, yet the level of skill and artistry is not at all comparable to the ones made in El Salvador, Mexico or Nicaragua so it seems a bit unfair to even compare them.
"For our larger, manufactured items records," I was told by a Guinness World Records representative, "the item must be manufactured [or] created exactly to scale as an everyday original hammock and must be at least 10 times the size. It must be made of the same materials and be able to be used in the same way as the original. It is at the discretion of the attempt organizer to choose an everyday hammock to model the larger scale attempt after. In addition, the length of the ropes supporting the hammock must be no more than a third in length of the main body of the hammock."
My second question was whether Guinness World Records has a category for largest hammock rather than longest, since according to my math, the area of El Salvador's hammock is greater than The Hessenstram Hattern hammock.
"We have one current record related to hammocks and it is for the longest hammock," said the Guinness representative, "We don’t currently have a category for largest hammock."
Hopefully, for the people of Llano Grande, Concepción Quezaltepeque in Chalatenango, El Salvador, this means that although it appears they have not succeeded in beating the record for "longest hammock" – perhaps they will qualify in a new category – that of "largest hammock."
Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of Latinaish.com.