Families in History - Lifestyles

Fashion pictures are full of historical information. In many cultures, clothing was a simple loincloth, whereas elaborate clothing characterized the attire of other groups. Styles are ever changing; thus hats or shoes indicate historical periods and cultural identity, for instance Muslim head-coverings. Embroidery embellishes some native clothing, and gold thread has been used by royalty or others to display high rank, along with jewelry. Silk has been an especially valued cloth, as seen in historical pictures. Even hairstyles are linked to cultural identity, such as braids. Historically, Men's hair has been worn long or short at different times, and beards and mustaches have had many styles in different societies.

Historical courtship pictures show that romantic moments haven't changed much from long ago. Portrayals of historical marriage ceremonies range from brides in ancient Rome to Victorian royal marriages. A woman's traditional role has nearly always included raising children and making sure the home life runs smoothly so the family's essential needs are met, whether the home was a cave, a hut, or a castle.

Wealthy families even in ancient history are portrayed with servants and luxurious lifestyles, often enjoying gardens and fountains in addition to spacious homes, such as the Roman villa. Similarly, historical images of European castles show a large staff was required to make the resident lords and ladies comfortable. These pictures contrast to those of medieval serfs and other families who are shown farming, cooking, and doing everything themselves.

The American frontier lifestyle had its own rough charm. Pioneers are pictured clearing land, building homes and log cabins, cooking over an open fire, and enduring severe weather. Historical images portray frontier clothing, meals, and other essentials as simple and durable. Frontier social life was restricted to neighbors working together and a few frontier celebrations such as a wedding.

The Victorian family is usually pictured as an idyllic set of loving parents with happy children, engaged in wholesome activities. However, poverty in the 19th century was endured by less fortunate families. Tenements and slums were unhealthy. Immigrants crowded together in ethnic neighborhoods to share language and customs with their countrymen, whether European immigrants in New York City or Asian-Americans in California. Some ethnic families, such as Hispanic-Americans, had maintained their distinctive cultural identity since colonial times.

Historical pictures also show the bright side of urban life. Cities were exciting and offered cultural events like opera performances, shopping for a wide variety of goods, and job opportunities. Historical images of rural lifestyles show simplified choices, such as shopping in country stores, living away from crowds and crime, working outdoors, and childen playing in the fresh air.


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