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Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you


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Life for the medieval peasant was certainly no picnic. His life was shadowed by fear of famine, disease and bursts of warfare. His diet and personal hygiene left much to be desired. But despite his reputation as a miserable wretch, you might envy him one thing: his vacations.


Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off. The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too. In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year.




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Sure... if you live like a peasant, you don't need much money and you can pick and choose when you work. Pay off all your debts and you too could work a part time or sub job and then all you haveto do is make sure you have enough to buy a few groceries and pay your monthly bills - just don't forget to have your TV and internet disconnected before you go to this low schedule, and sell your A/C unit and don't set your furnace any higher than absolutely necessary to survive (or sell it if in a climate where not 100% necessary). See how much you enjoy that vacation when you have nothing to your name and nothing to do in your spare time except for when those jugglers come to town. May as well just work more time and have some luxuries...
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