The Country of Marriage

I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,
containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.
I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:
a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,
the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life
that we have planted in the ground, as I have planted mine in you. I give you my love...

Wendell Berry

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Neighbors... the Amish

You may or may not know this about where we live, but we are surrounded by Amish. Our neighbors are Amish, the people across the street are Amish, and the people around the corner where I buy our milk are Amish. There is an Amish schoolhouse within view of our bedroom and kitchen windows, and everyday around 2 or 3 many Amish children with their lunch boxes traipse through our yard on their way home from school. Occasionally they climb a tree in our front lawn. Now, you might also know, that I did not grow up surrounded by Amish, unlike my husband, whose grandfather WAS Amish. So, Amish ways and customs are new to me. I love being surrounded by the Amish. They make me feel thankful for everything that I have, and they make me desire to live a more simple life. Their presence helps me to wonder at the smaller things in life, the things I usually take for granted.

Well, as I am getting more used to living in close proximity with these people, who make me feel like I have stepped back into time, I observe some of their ways, and I am constantly learning about them. Let me just say, I am intensely curious about these private people. Well, increasingly since the harvest is in, I keep observing large (and I mean LARGE) groups of Amish gathered together at one farm or another. When I was on my way to the grocery store the other day, I almost stopped along side of the road, I was so amazed at how many Amish people were gathered. What amazed me more, was that I thought I saw some young Amish FLIRTING! I asked my mother-in-law about it, and she asked me if it was a Tuesday or a Thursday, and I told her it was a Tuesday. I learned, that the Amish have their weddings after the harvest on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In fact, yesterday, there was an Amish wedding across the road, which would account for why no one was home yesterday for me to buy milk from.

Amish weddings are a new topic for me. I never really wondered about them, but now, as a newlywed myself, I am facinated by them. So, I looked up some facts about them.

1. Amish weddings typically take place after harvest, when they have more free time. (The men aren't in the fields every day anymore)

2. A wedding typically takes place on Tuesday or Thursday.

3. A couple won't announce their engagement until a few weeks before their wedding. The courtship is pretty secretive.

4.  The bride does not typically wear a white dress, but it is an occasion for a new dress, and their attendants dress in the same color.

5. The men in the wedding wear shirts of the same color. Servers for the wedding wear colors the bride picks out for them.

6. The wedding meal typically has to serve 200-600 people, so the women of the community all gather the day before to prepare. (and I thought my wedding was big!)

7. Apparently celery is a big deal. It is one of the main foods of the wedding meal (the stuff the fowl with celery, creamed celery, and its used as appetizers) The Amish community can sometimes guess there is a wedding if the family is planting a lot of celery.

8. There is a morning church service, followed by the ceremony. After which is the feasting.

9. There is a tradition called "going to the table", which is overseen by two appointed married couples. All of the unmarried females between 16 and thirty are invited to go upstairs and sit in some of the bedrooms, while the men are all outside in the barns. The married couple has to convince the men to go upstairs and invite one of the girls to "go to the table". They are allowed to hold hands as they come down the stairs and sit at a long table.

10. The couple normally spends the night at the Bride's parents home in order to help clean up. Many couples will stay with one of their parents until they have a place to move into.

11. Sometimes the bride will match unmarried men and women to sit together for the evening meal. (Sounds like a fun job!)

Well, these are all the traditions and pictures that I have gathered from the internet. I will ask Jesse's family if they know of anymore, and to make sure these ones are accurate!


  1. Very interesting Heather -- I love the simplicity of the Amish and find myself wanting to find out more about this faith-filled community. We are all sick right now, but can't wait to come visit :) we love you guys -- Lindsey B

  2. We love you too! We had so much fun with you guys last Sunday, we felt like we could have stayed forever! I am so excited for you to come visit too! I think of you everytime I buy milk :)