Friday, April 27, 2012

A Day (or Two or Six) of Rest

In pre-Christian times, there was no such thing as a weekend. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat, so almost everyone dedicated their waking hours to food-gathering activities. The only thing to look forward to was being able to stop working in the evening to eat. There was no TGIF, because there was no Friday. Every day was like the day before: the definition of “working for a living."

What is a weekend, really? A weekend is a disruption of our schedule. Instead of getting up at 6 AM to shower and get to work, we can sleep in. A weekend is a time to rest. Instead of going to work and sitting in meetings all day, we can sit on the couch at home and play video games. A weekend is something to look forward to when we go back to work on Monday: only 5 days ‘til the weekend!

I think it would be very hard to last through a long work period without a break to look forward to. Instead of a weekend, ancient cultures had religious festivals. They didn’t take place every five days and usually lasted longer than two, but they definitely disrupted the monotony of weeks of work.

I’m not sure who has it better: those of us in modern times, with our weekends, or those who looked forward to their holy days. It’s not like you could mow your lawn during a religious festival. It was usually a huge party, depending on which god the celebration was for. Even though some people today use their weekends to party like there’s no tomorrow, that’s not the way the majority choose to spend their days off.

Have a good weekend. Just don’t party like it’s 199 BC.

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