Without electricity, what did the ancients do at night

 Speaking of “there is no electricity” in ancient times, even though the nightlife recorded in ancient books is often called “traveling fans”, they are fascinated. But to be honest, for most ancients, living overnight was really a luxury. As the famous saying in the German “Grin’s Fairy Tales”: “After eating, it’s time to go to bed.”
  Therefore, in ancient times, “going to bed after dinner” was the normal life. Why is it so difficult to live overnight? In ancient Chinese history, in addition to the “curfew” policy of the past dynasties, a direct difficulty is that in the ancient times when there was no electricity, “lighting up and illuminating the light” at night was not only difficult, but also quite expensive.
   For example, from the Qin and Han Dynasties to the Sui and Tang Dynasties, the lighting fixtures at that time were mainly copper lamps and porcelain lamps. Well-known cultural relics such as the “Changxin Palace Lantern” have astounded countless people so far. The “lamp oil” burned was also animal fat fuel. Good-looking is good-looking, and the price is quite high. For a long time, it has been exclusively enjoyed by nobles and wealthy people. Therefore, the “night life” of the noble officials at that time, the gorgeous scene of “the night feast in the East Mountain, the silver candles glowing brightly”, not to mention other expenses, just “lighting up” is “burning money.”
   Even Li Shimin, Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, experienced a deep sense of frustration when it came to lighting the lights at night. On New Year’s Eve one year, the “iron-fisted emperor” made people light candles in the entire palace and a large bonfire in the main hall, intending to show off their wealth. Unexpectedly, Empress Xiao, who was in attendance at the event, vomited faintly: My dead husband, Emperor Sui Yang, used to light agarwood in the palace back then. At one point, it was dozens of bonfires and could burn more than two hundred cars of agarwood in one night. wood. It’s really “extraordinary and thrifty things that last different years”-you are too diligent and thrifty to keep a family!
   “Light up” more at night, you can have a sense of sight to show off your wealth. Wasn’t the “nightlife” at that time “burning money” every minute?
   It is precisely with the advancement of ancient Chinese lamp technology that the cost of overnight living has gradually come down: from the Tang and Song dynasties, the Chinese porcelain handicraft industry has made great strides forward. “Porcelain lamps” and other lamps have not only improved the craftsmanship, but also greatly reduced the cost.
   Therefore, it was from the middle of the Tang Dynasty that the nightlife of ancient Chinese cities gradually enriched. The nights in Guangzhou and Yangzhou in the Tang Dynasty gradually became lively, and “Qiaoshi overnight trips for wine guests” became the nighttime normal in many big cities. In the Song Dynasty, in “super cities” such as Bianjing and Lin’an, “drinking at night” was not even a problem. “Tokyo Dream Hualu” described that every evening, the big and small shops in the city of Bianjing began to “illuminate each other up and down”, and even “one lotus lantern was placed in each tile” on the street. The city “lights up” inside and out.
   Such “lit up” Song Dynasty cities, the nightlife has been recorded in the annals of lively: “Washe” in the “words”, “Sumo” and other entertainment activities all night long, even Song Renzong came to be “enthusiastic Audience”. All kinds of snacks in the Zhouqiao Night Market are open until the third watch, and the Maxing Street Night Market is “carrying horses and horses, and you can’t stop.” The singing and dancing performances in the restaurant are splendid, and “Going to Fanlou with Lights in the Night” has become the favorite of Bianjing youths. Such a “metropolitan nightlife” that “destroyed by wind, rain, heat and snow” is still an eye-catching “historical business card” for the Song Dynasty to this day.
   Of course, the bustling nightlife of Dasong, which is “a place to go to noisy all night,” is actually limited to “super cities” such as Bianjing, Lin’an, and Daming, while ordinary cities are still very deserted. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the nightlife of many economically developed ordinary cities and towns also became rich. For example, in Qingzhen, Tongxiang County, Zhejiang Province in the Ming Dynasty, the nightlife of “must drink at night” has been quite lively since the middle of the Ming Dynasty. In the big cities, the West Lake in Hangzhou, Tiger Hill in Suzhou, Qinhuai in Nanjing, and Linqing in Shandong during the Ming and Qing dynasties were full of teahouses and pubs, and the nightlife was a hundred times more lively than in the Song Dynasty.
   For example, the Dutch mission that went to China during the Kangxi period clearly recorded the nightlife in Linqing, Shandong at that time. As an important town along the canal at that time, Linqing was famous for its prosperity and prosperity. Every night, all local inns and teahouses are open all night, and performances such as opera, playing and singing are lively and lively. Even guests can enjoy the nightlife here happily by paying only six or seven yuan. This situation and circumstances have also made these Dutch people feel “really incredible.”
   Having said that, although nightlife has become more common from the Tang and Song Dynasties to the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it is still rare for the farmers who accounted for the majority of the population of the dynasties. Even in the middle of the Ming Dynasty, in the economically developed southeastern region, an ordinary family of self-cultivating farmers still rarely had time for leisure. The farmers in Jiaxing, Zhejiang during the period of “Hongzhi Zhongxing” recorded in the “Jiaxing Fubu” of the Ming Dynasty were busy every year from the first month of the year. The labor tasks such as soil loosening, top dressing, and threshing were extremely heavy every month. Two meals a day were rice porridge. Rice can only be eaten at noon, and only after paying the rent at the end of the year can you “hee hee as you”…
   Such a year, the days are hard and the work is heavy, except for the “Sail Club” around Duanyang where you can drink and have fun. In the evening, you have to be busy with food and clothing throughout the year, so how can there be any nightlife?
   However, the Ming and Qing Dynasties were also the “blowout” period of ancient Chinese agricultural development. Compared with the previous dynasties, farmers in this period, as long as they were in Taiping years, had a richer night life. The most famous entertainment project was Social drama.
   She opera, also known as Sai She, is an ancient folk ritual activity every year. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there were also richer patterns in some economically developed areas. For example, in the South of the Ming Dynasty, the “Ying Shen Saishe”, young and old all participated, dressed as various figures on the stage “makeup god” and “play acrobatics”, which was very lively day and night. The “Yellow Spring Festival” in Linqing, Shandong, in addition to inviting theatrical troupes, men, women, and children will also come out to perform folk tales such as “boys pretending to be Guanyin”. The streets are full of people from day to night.
   The excitement of these carnivals condensed the rich ancient folk culture, and also recorded the hardships of the ancient peasants-a year of hard work, waiting for the joy of this moment.
   If we talk about these nightlife, what we see is the development of ancient economy and culture, and there are some nightlife, but they have a reflection meaning beyond history.
   For example, the nightlife of Ming Dynasty scholar-officials described by the European missionary Matteo Ricci. This foreigner who has been in the “elite circle” of the late Ming Dynasty all the year round told us in his notes that the scholar-officials in the late Ming Dynasty had banquets almost every day, and every banquet was either in the gorgeous house or in the “palace-like” On the ship. Every piece of gold and silver utensils at the banquet is very precious, and the food is delicious and rich. In addition to booze, there is also “boating for fun.” This type of banquet usually lasts all night, and the unfinished food is rewarded to the servants. The most important one, “All expenditures are paid by the public.”
   Having seen this scene, refer to Matteo Ricci’s ongoing famines and deepening crises in various parts of the Ming Dynasty during the same period, and even the tragic situation of soldiers in the frontiers who were “stiff and the servants were told” because of hunger. The peasant uprising that swept the Ming Dynasty provided the best interpretation of the cause of the decline of the Ming Dynasty and this “hot” nightlife. How many sighs were in the wine glasses of this group of “elite”.