The idea of the holiday as an escape from the hell of work is a relatively recent idea. The holiday came into being precisely when there was a need for it, when the notion of a job had settled down into a reality, and when the world of work became so unpleasant that it was absolutely necessary to take holidays to prevent us from going crazy.
Before we all had jobs, there was less need to take an organized holiday as there were plenty of feast days, holy days and market days. And our leisure was mixed in with our work.
~Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle