Ancient China Daily Life

Daily life in ancient China was difficult for most people. Farmers in ancient China made up the majority of the population in the country.

Ancient China depended on farmers to produce enough food to keep up feeding the growing population of the country. Ancient China daily life for noble families was more comfortable.
Ancient China Daily Life

Other social classes like merchants and artisans in ancient China shared some of the same problems as farmers.

Families in ancient China

Whether a family was rich or poor, elders gained the respect of all people in the family. Families in ancient China lived in the same house.

The father or the eldest male ruled the home. Everyone in ancient China lived in the same home. Households contained parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The ancient Chinese believed that family was the most important aspect of life.

Males in ancient China

Men and boys where expected to work as soon as possible. If your father was a farmer then you would train to be a farmer. Young boys in poor families did not go to school.

Only boys from noble or wealthy families went to school. Boys from wealthier families could eventually take the state examinations.

Doing well on the state examination gave young boys a chance to improve their social status working for the government.

Females in ancient China

Women in ancient China were expected to obey their husbands or the man of the house. Many times young girls at birth were left out to die. Girls were not highly prized as boys.

Women took care of the household chores from cooking to cleaning to teaching the children. Children were taught from birth to respect elders.
Chinese Ladies Palying Cards
Most girls from poor families worked in the fields with other family members. Girls were not allowed to attend school. They learned how to take care of the home from their mothers.

Girls from noble or wealthy families were not expected to work. Every girl from a noble or wealthy family went through a painful procedure known as foot binding.

The procedure actually broke all the bones in a young girl’s foot. Girls could not walk well doing the process.

Foot binding was popular in ancient China because they believed small feet were attractive. Girls with small feet generally married into wealthy or noble families.

Marriage in ancient China

Marriages were arranged in ancient China by the parents of both individuals. Boy and girls had no say in who they could marry.
Chinese Wedding
After marrying, females went to live with their husband’s family. They were taught to obey every wish of their new husband and his parents or grandparents.

Food in ancient China

The food people ate in ancient China depended on their social class. Rice was the main crop in the southern portion of the country. Millet was grown in the northern region of the country.

Poor people had a diet of rice or millet. Poor people in the south included fish in their diet if they lived close enough to a river, lake or ocean. Noble or wealthier families could afford meat.

These people in ancient China included pork, duck, chicken, and even dog in their diet. Noble and wealthier people also ate rice and millet too.

Important facts about ancient China daily life

  • Families lived together in small homes. Homes contained several generations including parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
  • If your father was a farmer then you would become a farmer.
  • Only boys from noble or wealthier families went to school.
  • Girls were not allowed to go to school.
  • Men in ancient China ruled their home.
  • Women were expected to obey to every order of their husband.
  • Girls from noble and wealthy families had foot bindings which was a painful procedure.
  • Diet in ancient China was mainly rice and millet. Noble or wealthy families could afford meat.


1. What were the two main crops for food in ancient China?

Rice and millet

2. Marriages in ancient China were arranged by whom?


3. What happened to young girls from noble or wealthy families?

Foot binding

4. Homes in ancient China contained how many people?

Parents, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousin