Ancient Egypt

Daily Life

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The ancient Egyptians were full of energy and life. They worked hard and spent their spare times with their friends and family. They were fascinated to musical tunes, parties, fishing, hunting, sailing etc. They lived in the narrow fertile banks of the Nile River. Each year the banks of the River Nile was flooded tremendously, due to which the banks of the river became fertile. The fertile land of the Nile valley was popularly known as "the Black Land" where as the desert around the Nile valley was famous as “the red land”.

Family Life: A happy family life was very important to each Egyptian. They used to believe that they were blessed with their little kids. They are affectionate about their children. Ancient Egyptian women and  her childThe wealthy and noble family, however, used to take the help of slaves and servants to raise their children. Usually the couple without any child used to pray to the God for a baby in different ways. If they could not manage to get their own child, then adoption was the ultimate option for them.

Usually women had to obey their fathers or husbands but they had rights to carry out business deals, land acquisitions, legal cases etc. Even though the women used to perform most of the house hold activities, such as, raising their children, preparing food, fetching water etc, but they also used to earn money by dancing, singing and playing music, and making perfumes.

Egyptian boys learned how to make crafts or involve in trade affairs from their fathers or artisans and girls at the same time were good at learning house hold duties from their mothers. In affluent families, boys were sent to school at an age of seven to study about religion. They used to spend time in schools for being familiar with reading and writing.

Marriage: The average age for an Egyptian girl to be married was 12 years. Boys, however, used to get married at an older age. In noble or wealthy families, the girls were a bit older when they got married. Generally a common man had a single wife. The wealthy man, nevertheless, had many.

Food and cooking: They used to cook on a clay oven or using open fire. Even though the wood was scarce, but it used to serve as fuel. Storage jars, bowls, pots, pans, ladles, sieves, whisks etc were the most common utensils used to store, cook and eat food. Usually the pots, used by common men, were made up of clay but the wealthy men used to do their works with metal pots, made up of gold, silver and bronze. In ancient Egypt, bread was the staple food and barley made beer became the most popular beverage. Wealthy people used to consume wine too.

Cosmetics: The common Egyptian people used to bathe in the River Nile where as the wealthy men enjoyed separate room for bathing. A perfumed cleansing cream, produced using oil and lime, was used while taking bath.

Ancient Egyptian Women are getting make-upUsing make was a common phenomenon in the Egyptian society. The eye paints, lips, cheeks and nail colors were very popular. Green malachite and galena (a gray lead ore) were the main ingredients for painting faces where as hena was used to color the nails. Women used special make up boxes to carry their makeup utilities.  At parties, servants used to put the cones of perfumed grease on the heads of the guests. Grease used to offer a cooling effect while melting through the skin of the face.

Hair: The common Egyptians kept their hair short. Wigs were very popular both for men and women. These were used at parties and official functions. Usually the wool (produced from the furs of sheep) and human hair were used to make wigs. Wigs were used to decorate. It also gave protection from the heat. There were special boxes to store those wigs.

Jewelry: Ancient Egyptians were very fond of their pretty jewelry sets. They wore rings and amulets to shed injuries and ward off the evil spirits. Pierced earrings, armlets, bracelets, and anklets were common ornaments for both men and women. The wealthy men wore jeweled or beaded collars (wesekh), necklaces and pendants. Rich men’s jewelries were made up of gold, silver or electrum (gold mixed with silver) and they were studded with semi precious stones like turquoise, lapis lazuli (a deep blue stone), and carnelian (a copper or reddish orange stone). Common people used to embellish themselves with copper or faience (made by heating powdered quartz) jewelries.  

Clothing: The clothes were designed to fight against the scorching heat of Egypt. Usually clothes of Egyptians were made up of linen. That linen was ranged from the coarse to fine texture. In the old and middle kingdom, short skirts (kilt) were worn by men and straight fitting dresses held by straps were worn by women. The kilts of the rich men were pleated. The old men used to wear longer kilts.  Children were seen nude during the summers and cloaks and wraps were worn in winters.

In new kingdom, noble men wore a long robe over the kilt, where as women wore long pleated dresses along with a shawl. The queens used very gorgeous decorative dresses. Common people used to be bare footed most of the times but they used to wear sandals on special occasions. The king used elaborate and decorative sandals. Sometimes he used decorative gloves on his hands too.

Housing and Furniture: As there was a scarcity of wood, houses were made up of sun dried mud’s bricks, called adobe. An affluent man’s home was divided into three parts, a reception, a hall and private quarter.  They covered windows and doors of their houses with mats to ward off flies, dust and heat. Sometimes there was a room with three walls on the roof top where the family slept during summer. There were mainly two to three storied houses, ground floor of which was reserved for the business. The ancient Egyptians sailing boatA fly catcher, a stool, small boxes for jewelry and cosmetics, chests for clothing, pottery jars, and oil lamps were the main household furniture. Each household’s Sewage had to be disposed of in pits, in the river, or in the streets.

Entertainment: The ancient Egyptians loved to spend their spare time with their families.  Apart from that, there were several activities, such as,  hunting, fishing, swimming, boat outing etc, were performed by the dwellers. The drama was played in the temple. Wealthy Egyptians used to host extravagant parties with variety of food, beer and wine. The ancient Egyptians loved music, and played instruments like lute, harp, lyre etc. They used to play board games like Hounds & Jackals, and Senet. Carved ivory animals, wooden horses on wheels, and balls were the favorite toys of the children. The main festivals or holidays were declared in honor of the Almighty.