Straw hats are a craft that tells a lot of history. Making a straw hat is very complicated even more if they are fine hats which can last up to 6 months of manufacture.
On December 5, 2012 it was declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. A recognition and fact that was very positive, for example, the sales of hats in Ecuador increased, gender more job opportunities for peasant families, many tourists come to Montecristi and other cities to learn about the culture and how hats are made among other things more.
That's why in Ecuador on December 5 is considered the day of the hat, because it is the date where it was established that this incredible craftsmanship is 100% Ecuadorian.
Weaving hats is an art that was born in the Manabitas families, this art has been handed down from generation to generation, hats are not only woven in Manabí, they are also manufactured in Santa Elena and Cañar, but the finest hats only they find in Pile a community of Montecristi Manabí.
But the place that started with this work was Jipijapa, here the first hats were woven, it is believed that by the mid-1800s hundreds of thousands of our jipijapa hats were sent to Panama to be distributed throughout the world, as a sign of elegance or as protection from the hot sun. Years later JipiJapa was dedicated to the cultivation and sale of coffee and Montecristi took over the development of this craft.
But why do I tell you a little about the origin of the hats?
The reason is because many people think straw hats are called Panama Hats or are from Panama, but this is due to confusion, this hat has a story that explains all the confusion of its name. It is believed that at the end of the 20th century when the Panama Canal was being built, there was a strong heat wave. Former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, seeing the situation, decided to buy more than 50,000 hats from Ecuador, in order to that the workers covered themselves with the sun.
The hats at that time did not have any label or mark that would assure that they were made in Ecuador, but at present with the recognition by UNESCO in 2012 it has been corroborated that they are indeed from Ecuador, to the point that they are educating the people whose name is not Panama Hats, their real name is Montecristi Hats or Jipijapa Hats, or simply call them straw hat.t.