Ancient Greek Customs & Traditions Lesson for Kids

Instructor: David Wilson

David has taught college history and holds an MA in history.

The culture and traditions of the ancient Greeks have similarities to modern-day societies, although some customs were very different. Learn about the daily life of ancient Greece in this lesson.

Have It Your Way

Everyone has their own list of favorites: favorite foods, favorite movies, favorite sports. Some of these favorites make up your country's customs and traditions, such as turkey on Thanksgiving or football during the fall season. In ancient Greece, nobody had a Thanksgiving feast, movies, or football fields, but they did have olives, plays, and the Olympics. Read on to find out more about traditions that the Greek culture followed.

What's For Dinner?

One of the most important things on the mind of the ancient Greeks was the same thing that's on the mind of many of us today: I'm hungry! The Greeks didn't have fast food but had a lot of different traditions for their meals. You might not eat many olives today, but in ancient Greece the olive showed up at every meal in different forms. Not only did they eat them like we do, but they also pressed them to produce olive oil that could be used for cooking or lighting or even makeup. In fact, olives were so important that it was illegal to uproot an olive tree!

Vase with image of Greeks picking olives
Greek olive vase

In addition to olives, Greeks ate grains, as bread and porridge. Usually, only the wealthy could afford expensive meat. There was no candy, either: just about the only sweet thing around was honey, and you had to get it from the bees themselves! The Greeks celebrated the harvest, the collection of food grown on farms, with festivals and feasts. The Greek goddess of the harvest, Demeter, was believed to search for her daughter after the harvest, causing winter.

Dressing Up and Going Out

It gets hot in Greece pretty regularly, but during the winter time it can get very cold too. Ancient Greek clothing had to keep you protected from sun and rain and snow. Men and women loose robes that kept them cool in summertime and warm in winter. Greek clothing was made out of either wool or linen.

Ancient Greek woman wearing loose-fitting clothing
Greek woman

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