School Holidays (vacation, recess): Extended period exempted from work or school. School holidays were still unknown in the Middle Ages, and the school year was interrupted by Sundays, numerous holy days and a few school festivities. Since the early part of the Modern Age regard has been given, to a degree varying with the region and school type, to the practical needs of what was predominantly a rural farming society (holidays during harvest time, i.e. September/October). While Emperor Joseph II had the school holidays shifted to July and August in 1786, the previous arrangement was again adopted after his death. Subsequently, school holidays were again gradually moved back to August/September (1829) and July/August (1928). Government regulation resulted in a gradual lengthening of holidays in the course of the 20th century. Currently, school children have, in addition to nine weeks in July and August, extensive holidays at Christmas, at the end of the semester, around Easter and a somewhat shorter holiday period around Whitsun. University holidays are even longer.