Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXIII.: Of Festivals. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XXIII.: Of Festivals. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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WHEN religion appoints a cessation from labour, it ought to have a greater regard to the necessities of mankind, than to the grandeur of the being it designs to honour.
Athens* was subject to great inconveniencies from the excessive number of its festivals. These powerful people, to whose decision all the cities of Greece came to submit their quarrels, could not have time to dispatch such a multiplicity of affairs.
When Constantine ordained that the people should rest on the sabbath, he made this decree for the cities† , and not for the inhabitants of the open country; he was sensible, that labour in the cities was useful, but in the fields necessary.
For the same reason, in a country supported by commerce, the number of festivals ought to be relative to this very commerce. Protestant and Catholic countries are situated‡ in such a manner that there is more need of labour in the former than in the latter; the suppression of festivals is therefore more suitable to Protestant than to Catholic countries.
Dampier∥ observes, that the diversions of different nations vary greatly, according to the climate. As hot climates produce a quantity of delicate fruits, the barbarians easily find necessaries, and therefore spend much time in diversions. The Indians of colder countries have not so much leisure, being obliged to fish and hunt continually; hence they have less music, dancing, and festivals. If a new religion should be established amongst these people, it ought to have regard to this in the institution of festivals.
[* ]Xenophon on the republic of Athens.
[† ]Leg. 3. Cod. de Feriis. This law was doubtless made only for the Pagans.
[‡ ]The Catholics lie more towards the south, and the Protestants towards the north.
[∥ ]Dampiere’s voyages, vol. ii.