A Look at Daily Life in Ancient China
Life in ancient China is actually not very structurally different from today's hectic, busy schedules. Like modern people, the ancient Chinese had family functions to attend, religion, aches and pains, and the usual having to work almost the whole day.
Religion in ancient China during the Shang dynasty was divided into Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. The ancient Chinese believed in a ying and a yang, and they built pagodas in order to "bless" surrounding towns and villages and in order to worship.
Class structure was also very important during this time. Most of the people were peasants and there was the small number of nobles and kings. The difference of wealth between the peasants and the nobles and kings was very large. Most of the time, the peasants were living in huts or little houses made out of mud or bamboo. They did not even have a floor as we know it today. On the other hand, the nobles and kings built lavish palaces and summer homes that were also made out of mud and wood but looked a whole lot better. They were decorated with lavish objects such as candles held by bronze candlesticks.
For women, daily life was filled with taking care of the home and the children. The structure and difference between genders was greatly emphasized. The woman must respect and obey her husband at all times. Women almost never were married to the men of their choice. If she did something wrong, her family would be in disgrace. The male had much more power over the household than the females. The eldest male (usually the father) was in charge and dominated the affairs of all the family members. He dictated their daily doings.
Since most people were peasants, they usually did not have anything else to do for work other than farm. This was perhaps one of the poorest occupations of that time. Merchants did a little better, but the farmers always had the hardest time. The peasants worked from day to night, and they did not even own the land that they worked on. The property was usually owned by the noble or king. In addition to working on the noble's land, the farmer had to give gifts to the noble. So, whenever the peasant-farmer had something extra or nice, he could not keep it and had to give it up to the noble or king (so that he could 'stay in his place and not become as proud as the nobles').
The peasants also celebrated the Spring Festival. Usually at this time the young people got together and they usually paired up and some of them were even married. This celebration was held every year in order to assure a good harvest (or a good year) and is the equivalent to the Chinese New Year.