When the reli­gion com­mands the ces­sa­tion of work, it should be more mind­ful of men’s needs than of the great­ness of the being it honors.

In Athens, the exces­sive num­ber of feast days was a great pro­blem.1 This domi­nant peo­ple, to whom all the cities in Greece brought their quar­rels, could not manage to deal with them all.

When Constantine ins­ti­tu­ted Sunday as a day of rest, he made that ordi­nance for the cities2 and not for the peo­ple in the coun­try­side : he rea­li­zed that the cities were home to labors who were use­ful, and the coun­try­side to labors who were neces­sary.

For the same rea­son, in the coun­tries which sup­port them­sel­ves by trade, the num­ber of feast days must be rela­tive to that trade itself. Protestant coun­tries and Catholic coun­tries are situa­ted3 in such a way that labor is less dis­pen­sa­ble in the for­mer than in the lat­ter ; the sup­pres­sion of feast days was the­re­fore more com­pa­ti­ble with the Protestant than the Catholic coun­tries.

Dampier obser­ves that peo­ples’ diver­sions vary greatly with the cli­ma­tes.4 Since warm cli­ma­tes pro­duce an abun­dance of deli­cate fruits, bar­ba­rians, who find their requi­re­ments close at hand, spend more time enter­tai­ning them­sel­ves. The Indians of cold coun­tries do not have so much lei­sure : they must fish and hunt conti­nually, so there is less dan­cing, music, and feas­ting ; and were a reli­gion to become esta­bli­shed among those peo­ples, it ought to be mind­ful of that in its ins­ti­tu­tion of feast days.

Xenophon on the republic of Athens.

Law 3, Codex, De feriis ; this law was doubtless made only for pagans.

Catholics are more towards the south and Protestants toward the north.

Nouveaux Voyages autour du monde, vol. II.