Dating at least from ancient Rome, the holiday was a time of public and communal celebration, a time to commemorate some event of civic or religious significance that all citizens participated in equally. The set of holidays observed by a given community was a way of defining that community. Each holiday, with its unique history and set of rituals, connected the members of a community to one another, and to the community's collective past. The holiday was fundamentally noneconomic in character. Everyone participated, independent of economic circumstances.... In contrast, the vacation is thoroughly private and economic. People negotiate for paid vacations with their employers. They decide whether to spend their money on vacations or on things, in a way that they never would with holidays. Imagine asking whether to buy a new car or celebrate Easter. The point of a vacation is not to join in celebration with other members of the community but to escape it—at least for a while. People take vacations for a change of scene, and they take them alone, or just with their families.