The history of holiday
………………… and the holy days of history
The very nature of work (and play for that matter) has changed over the ages. Some people did not work at all! In ancient China, the top notch royalty grew their nails so long it curved and curled into elaborate symbols of importance to prove one’s aristocratic background. The nails were decorated and displayed, and the people attached to these appendages had to be fed and dressed, washed and pampered. Try as I might to respect the customs of every culture, it seems pretty strange to me. But such is cultural conditioning, and what is respected by one culture is abhorred by another. How different is modern day China and the worldwide perception that the Chinese are the most hard-working people!
Customs and beliefs about work
In the caste systems of some cultures, certain labours are designated unclean, whereas I was raised to believe that all labour is ennobling. Whether you polish the silver of the cathedral or clean the toilets of the station, every job is important to keep the world going around. The millionaire mogul of a multi-national company is not more important than the man who removes the weeds in the wheat field. Everybody needs bread after all. What is important is whether you do the work with integrity and treat other people with decency. Like most cultural conditioning, this belief has served me more-or-less half the time.
The word “holiday” comes from the holy days of religious festivals, when workers were given leave to attend worship or celebration, or the commemoration of an event, (like a king coming into power or a war ending). On these days people were exempt from work. On all other days people worked.
Fun and relaxation
It is a recent development in the history of mankind that one does and should have time for rest and recreation. And we jolly-well need it! Modern life is fast! The world is changing rapidly due to the advances in technology. The holding and supportive structures of the old rhythms and customs are no longer available to most of us. There is a price to pay for the freedom to do what we want: We are expected to do EVERYTHING!
That is why the re-creation of a holiday is essential. On holiday we create ourselves anew, so that we can be up to the demands of modern life.
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