Thanksgiving in Amish Country

As a writer of Amish novels, and therefore a researcher of their culture and heritage, I’m often asked how the Amish celebrate a specific holiday. The answer to that question, as with most regarding these fascinating people, lies within the particular sect they belong to, such as Old Order, New Order, Beachy Amish, Swartzentruber, Mennonite, etc. And within the general divisions lie additional disparity due to decisions made by particular bishops. I will only speak on two sects I have interviewed most, namely the Old Order of Ohio and more recently, the Old Order of central Maine. Here in Ohio’s Amish Country, they will do fairly much what we Englischers will do: congregrate at the home of a family member, eat turkey with all the trimming, enjoy the antics of children and grandchildren, and savor apple and pumpkin pies with a good cup of coffee! Ahh, I’m getting hungry already. However, this past summer I traveled to research the Amish of Maine in preparation for my summer release, Living in Harmony. Although they are also technically Old Order, I was told they don’t celebrate any holiday. When I asked: not even Thanksgiving? I was told: Christians don’t need a excuse to overeat like glutons, since glutony is a sin. I shrank back a step since I’m guilty of overeating on most, if not all, Thanksgivings. So I will try to remember my new friends in Maine and push myself away from the table a bit sooner this Thursday. Blessings on you all!

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2 Responses to “Thanksgiving in Amish Country”

  1. Very interesting to know, Mary. I’ll looking forward to your Maine story, having a heard a little about your research earlier this year. I’m curious, what do you know about the Amish and Fourth of July celebrations. I’ve read that many sects do enjoy the parades and fireworks. What have you learned?


  2. Good hearing from you, Kelly. General speaking, the Amish don’t participate in political or national type events. But that being said, I know many Amish families who go to watch the big parade and fireworks display in Mount Eaton and Millersburg, Ohio on 4th of July. They enjoy cotton candy and soft drinks and the ambiance of a warm summer day. It all depends on their Order and the conservativeness of their particular district. I’ve learned to research the customs and habits of the exact community I’m writing about.


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