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What Are Amish Holidays Like?

Learn about Amish holiday traditions!

November 6, 2017

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Oct 16, 2018

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Learn About Amish Holiday Traditions

If you’re not Amish, Amish people would call you “English.” If you’re English, and you’re curious what Amish people do on holidays, HER might be able to ease your curiosity. Like other Christians, they celebrate Christmas and Easter, but they also have their own traditions. For Amish people, holidays are a time for religion and family. Though, keep in mind that their traditions might vary from one community to the next.

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Christmas

For Amish people, Christmas is about remembering Christ and spending time with family. In addition to celebrating on Christmas Day, Amish people celebrate Second Christmas and Old Christmas. Second Christmas is on the 26th, and it’s usually dedicated to relaxing with family or visiting people. Old Christmas is exactly twelve days after Christmas—January 6th—which is the traditional date the Three Wise Men traveled to Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus. Their traditions might not involve Santa Claus or Christmas trees, but they do celebrate in other ways.

Christmas is about family

Here are a few ways the Amish celebrate around Christmastime:

Caroling

The Amish community split into groups and sing Christmas songs to people in their community.

Youth Christmas Supper

Eating dinner together as a family, accompanied by Christmas songs and gift-giving, as well as family traditions.

Christmas Programs

Youth plays at church, followed by gift exchanges from the children to the parents, and among the children.

Family time 

On Christmas Day and Second Christmas

Good Friday, Easter, and Easter Monday

Similar to other Christians, Amish people celebrate Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), Easter (always on Sunday), and Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter). For Amish people, Good Friday, Easter, and Easter Monday involve fasting, prayer, family time, and decorating eggs. Depending on the Amish community, the celebration might be more quiet and solemn or more joyous.

Ascension Day

Ascension Day is the 40th day after Easter, and it celebrates the day that Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. Ascension Day is celebrated by Amish people as well as some other religious Christians. On Ascension Day, businesses are closed and workers stay home; it’s a day of rest. Most Amish communities celebrate Ascension Day, with the Swiss Amish being an exception.

Pentecost (Whit Sunday)

Pentecost is the 50th day after Easter, and it celebrates the day that the Holy Spirit appeared to the Apostles. It’s followed by Whit Monday, the Monday after Pentecost, when workers stay home to rest.

St. Michael’s Day

On October 11th, Amish people celebrate St. Michael’s Day by resting and fasting. Businesses are closed. Workers stay home. They go to a communion service to honor St. Michael and welcome Autumn. It’s a traditional day that both the Amish and Catholics celebrate.

What About National Holidays?

As for non-religious holidays, Amish people do celebrate the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s, however, they don’t celebrate Halloween. They do celebrate Valentine’s Day, though sometimes it’s discouraged.

Overall, holidays for Amish people are religious, traditional, celebratory, and family-oriented. Like in any culture, there are variations between different Amish communities. But no matter what, their holidays are meaningful and traditional.

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