Most of us likely take our big comfy mattresses and soft sheets for granted. Places that cater to western tourism usually have bedding parts familiar to Americans, but it’s not necessarily the kind of bed the rest of a country uses. The fact of the matter is different cultures enjoy a rich array of interesting styles of bedding from around the world that are completely unfamiliar to us in North America. To name just a few unusual beds, let’s look at hammocks, futons, charpoys, and matrimonial beds.
The Humble Hammock Bed
What we Americans love to lounge in during the summer season is standard bedding in warmer areas. The traditional South American bedding of choice is a colorful sling of cloth, preferably hung in a shady area. While it may seem unthinkable to use for anything besides a nap, it’s a whole other experience sleeping peacefully in a hammock under a star-strewn sky on a mountainside. Besides being easy to clean, repair, and move, hammocks are essential for areas where space is unavailable.
The Traditional Futon
One of the most famous interesting styles of bedding from around the world is, without a doubt, the futon. Interest in Japanese culture in Western countries has made this simple bed style happily inexpensive and available to anyone interested in trying one. The futon consists of a mat, called a tatami, which lies on the floor. On top of that lies a simple and thin bedroll-like mattress. In homes and areas with limited space, a cozy and quickly stowable bed is a huge advantage.
The Minimalist Charpoy
Another ancient culture with an interesting style of bed is India. The charpoy is about as straightforward as a bed can get. It consists of a sturdy and unadorned wooden frame. Between the frame stretches either a single cot-like piece of cloth or ropes or straps. No sheets, pillow, or mattress are necessary! In a place that gets as ruggedly hot as India, such a simple bed is a lot more comfortable and cooler than it looks at first glance.
Matrimonial Versus Single Beds
Cultures throughout Europe have different takes on what’s appropriate and what’s not, including how unmarried people can sleep. It’s not at all uncommon to find two single-size beds pushed close rather than a single large bed. The idea is that unmarried couples sleep close at night, but there’s still a reserved gap between them. Matrimonial beds are the term for one larger bed, and some hotels and inns may disallow people from using these rooms unless they can show they’re married.