Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 17 September |
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

How peasants in the Middle Ages had more vacation time than we do

MIDDLE AGES DANCE PARTY

Public Domain | Wikipedia

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/16/17

Would you trade our modern conveniences for half a year off work?

There’s one area where the medieval peasant had it better off than we do: his vacation time. According to Lynn Stuart Parramore, a peasant would take anywhere from eight weeks to six months off each year. That’s compared to the American worker’s paltry eight vacation days a year.

How was he able to set the plow down for so much time. According to Parramore:

•The Church enforced mandatory holidays
•Time was taken off for weddings, wakes and births
•A traveling carnival in town meant time off for everyone
•Nobody worked on Sundays
•When there was no farm work to be done, a peasant had no work to do

In our age of round-the-clock availability made possible by technology, when even the idea of a 40-hour work week seems like a quaint joke, one might be forgiven for looking back with envy at our medieval ancestors and their gobs of free time. Is this really progress, we might ask? But then we remember those smells…

Read Parramore’s entire essay here.

Tags:
HistoryMedieval

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
1
CELEBRITIES
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
2
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
3
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
4
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
5
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
6
CROSS
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.