Daily Life Among the Aryans for Kids
The Aryan clans or tribes are called Gana, which means a collection of people. The Aryan clans settled in northwestern India. The Gana were ruled by a hereditary chief. The chief made the decisions, but only after hearing from the rest of the tribe. Anyone could speak at these meetings. When the chief made a decision, after hearing from the people, they all obeyed.
When they first arrived in India, the Aryans lived in straw huts. They soon adopted local custom and began building wooden homes. They also continued with some of their major social customs. One of these was the Yagna. The life of the tribal Aryans was focused around the Yagna, the central fireplace.
Dinner time was social time. The tribe would gather around the central fireplace, everyone would eat together and share news and the days happenings. Those who tended the central fireplace also cooked for the rest of the tribe. In addition, the fire tenders were the go between the people and the fire gods. This caste later developed into the priests of the Aryans.
For their meals, the Aryans ate wild game, vegetables, fruit fish, meat from their herds and especially bread. Bread was very important to them. They also drank milk from their herds, both goats milk and cows milk.
Clothing at first was made of animal skins. As the Aryans settled down, clothing began to be made of cotton.
The Aryans brought horses to India when they migrated in. They held horse races and chariot races and bet on the winner. They were warriors, and played fighting games.
Once the Aryans settled down and began to grow their food instead of being just herdsmen, they started developing a caste system. The caste system started with just four castes. In order of importance and power these castes were priests, warriors, traders and farmers, and finally paid workers. The caste system grew progressively more strict until finally you were born into your caste and could not move or marry out of your caste.
Boys were educated by a guru (which means teacher). They were taught to read and write. While being taught, the guru had absolute power over their students. If a chief's son was being taught, even he had to obey the guru. The Aryans did not use clay or rock to keep permanent records, so although they wrote things down, there are no remains of those records. We only have their oral stories to know about how they studied and learned.
The Aryans were proud and fierce, and deeply religious. They had many gods and goddesses. They loved stories. They loved to tell stories around the central campfire at night. Some of these stories were about the first god. These stories became the Vedas, or the sacred text of Hinduism. They told the stories of the Vedas, over and over for a thousand years, until they were finally written down during the Gupta Empire (around 500 BCE).
The Aryans also created two incredible epic poems called the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These two epics tell us a lot about the Aryan way of life, their beliefs, wars, and accomplishments.