members of the Lacanhá subgroup lived close to each other
and visited each other often, but in general, the Lacandones lived
secluded from other families. The Lacandones of the Jatate
subgroup had a chronically shortage of marriageable woman for
years. Each man feared for losing his wife to another man. For
that reason the woman stayed home when the men would meet each
other in the forest.
has always been very important, moving to another house occurred
commonly. The most important reason for this was the shifting of
the Lacandones still think mobility is very important, although
several families live together in the mentioned communities. The
life of the Lacandones turns on the household. A household exists
of the man, his wives, unmarried children, married daughters, son
in laws and one of the grandparents if the other has died. The man
is the head of the family.
parents and their small children live together in a home that
consists out of one room. Boys and bachelor man sleep in a
separate hut, just like their older sisters. The average number of
children in a household is decreasing. Young families have an
average of 1,6 children, while their parents had an average of 3,8
children and their grandparents even 9,6 children.
are two other huts near the home. One of these huts contains the
kitchen; the other is being used for storage of food.
a household has its own
(private land), but this land can also be shared with several
households. Families that share such a caribal, seems to be close
relatives. The distance between some caribals can be several days
traditional Lacandon home (nah) has a thatched roof of
about ten meters wide and is made from palm leaves (kun),
because of the round endings the home becomes about three meters
longer. The home of the southern Lacandones didn’t had any walls,
those of the northern did. The walls were made from rough boards
of balsa wood; in between there are many openings. The different
doorways are the only openings in the home. Dirt is used for the
floor and on both sides of the home you can find an open fireplace,
made from the three stones just like the Ancient Maya did. The
hammocks of majoua bark are near the fireplace. Calabash plates
are hanging on the beams of the roof and are used for storage of
their homemade cigars, hach k’uuts (‘Real Tobacco’),
The Lacandones are smoking cigars almost all day long.
modern Lacandon home has a floor of concrete and a roof of
corrugated iron, inside there are two or three rooms with several
hammocks, a table with chairs, a television and sometimes a video
traditional household haves its own yatoch k’un (‘godhouse’).
These are made on an open space in the forest, secluded from the
community. It is a ritual meeting spot where the religious objects
are stored. East of the yatoch k’un you can find a canoe
(the balché chem), which is specially made for the
preparation of the ritual balché.
A yatoch k’un is made from a thatched roof on poles without walls. It’s important that the entry is faced to the east, facing Yaxchilán. In the yatoch k’un humans and gods meet each other, the gods will sit between the humans while they are sacrificing and praying. It’s the place where ordinary objects become holy: incense transforms into tortillas and tamales transforms into meat, rubber dolls are sacrificed after being ritually made alive. Even the human voice transforms into a nasal melodic voice when people are speaking to the gods.