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Peasants - Men, Women, Children Illustration

Ancient Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man
Celtic Peasants

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Celtic Peasants: The peasants were free to come and go. Unless they married out of their clan, or studied to become an artisan, a bard, a druid priest, or a warrior, they had no reason to venture very far from their homestead.

Peasant Men: Along with hunting and fishing, the men did the heavy labor on the farms. They were wonderful farmers. The Celts invented a reaping machine, an invention that was copied by the ancient Romans. The reaping machine let them harvest more rapidly. With the reaper, they were far less likely to lose crops to an early frost. It also saved on labor. They stored grain in pits for the winter.

Peasant Women: The women gathered berries and other foods that could be harvested. They cooked and cleaned and sewed and looked after the children. Although they were busy, most women spent some time on their personal appearance. At night, everyone would collect in the big home that served them all.

Kids: The girls helped their mothers, the boys helped their fathers. Around age 15, both boys and girls began to think of marriage. Most would marry someone they met at a clan festival. The tallest boys might be selected to train as warriors. Some might learn an artisan skill. Most would be farmers. With their free time, kids would play war games. Also popular was a game they played similar to field hockey.

Food: They lived on farms. They worked hard. All the people ate well. They had cheese, butter, milk, mead, honey, fish, pork, chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, and breads and cereals made with wheat, barley, oats, and rye.

Clothing: Like the nobles, the common people wore richly dyed wool in colorful plaids. Both men and women wore tunics. A man's tunic stopped at the knees. A woman's was floor length. They were both loosely gathered at the waist with a belt. Both men and women wore shawls over their tunics, wrapped loosely around their shoulders. The wore sandals, usually made of leather. The nobles might have clothes that did not show wear, but everyone wore clothes with colors and designs that represented their clan or clans.

Jewelry: Like the nobles, the common people decked themselves out in arms bands, bracelets, neckbands, lots of rings and heavy belts made of many materials. Their jewelry was typically not made of gold or silver, but it was carefully made and quite lovely. The Celts loved glitter and color.

Campfire Conversations: In the evening, everyone in the fine would gather around a central campfire. Every few day, as they gathered around the campfire, they would review what had happened in the last few days. If you had a problem with someone, that is when you would bring it up. There were no secrets. Problems would be discussed, resolved, and forgotten.

Clan Festivals

What was it like to be a member of a clan?

Play some Celtic games