Friday, June 6, 2014

TRADITIONS OF AN AMISH WEDDING



Let me start by saying that each Amish community has their own special traditions, what I have written is indicative of a typical Amish community in Ohio or Pennsylvania.  The information below is from www.PaDutchCountry.com and www.OhiosAmishCountry.com.

Courtship, meaning serious dating leading to marriage, among the Amish is secretive. A couple doesn’t announce their engagement until just a few weeks before their wedding. They keep it a secret (as long as they can). An Amish wedding is a particularly joyous occasion, for two baptized members of the church are joining in marriage, continuing the faith and starting a new family together. While parents do not select who their children will marry, approval must be given, and the deacon usually acts as the go-between. At a church service, the couples planning to marry are "published," or announced in front of the congregation. But much preparation, mainly by the bride’s parents, has already begun, including in some Amish communities, the early summer planting of several hundred stalks of celery, an important part of some Amish wedding feasts.  Stalks of celery are used as table decorations as well as being served as creamed celery casseroles.



It is always an occasion for a new dress for the bride. Brides typically don't wear white but one of the more acceptable colors of their group, normally a beautiful shade of blue. They take great care in choosing the fabrics and colors of their wedding party. The wedding party, called attendants in Englisch ceremonies, are all dressed in the same dress color. The young men of the wedding party also wear matching shirts in some cases. The servers, who assist at the meal, also have special colors that the bride picks for them to wear.



Amish weddings take place during a service similar to the typical Amish worship service held every other Sunday. The Bishop and ministers preside. The couple takes their vows before the church.  Most Amish weddings take place after the autumn harvest, from late October through December. Traditionally, they are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so there is time in between to get ready for and clean up after each. Even so, it can get pretty busy during the "wedding season," with some Amish going to two or three weddings in one day!  Recently some Amish communities have gone to springtime weddings as well since the fall wedding season has gotten overbooked.



After the church wedding, the celebration continues with the meal. The Amish wedding meal is usually typical fare with fried or broasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, coleslaw, creamed celery, applesauce, and other vegetables.  Among the desserts are pies, doughnuts, fruit, and pudding. There are usually several wedding cakes, some made by the women, but often one from a bakery as well, which are usually eaten later in the day. It will take several seatings to feed 200-300 (or more) guests. It is not unheard of for there to be 500 guests at an Amish wedding. After the meal, in some groups, the bride and groom visit the wedding meal guests with baskets of candy to hand out as favors. This gives them an opportunity to greet all the guests personally. In the afternoon, the young people have a singing, and soon it is time for those who have stayed through the day to enjoy the evening meal. Hymn-singing again follows the meal, dominated by "faster hymns" which the youths enjoy.


In some groups, the parent's will give their newlyweds their first bedroom suite, handmade by the family or by another craftsman in the community.  After spending the night at the bride’s home, the newlyweds awake the next day to begin helping with the clean-up from the day before. The couple will spend upcoming weekends visiting relatives, sometimes stopping at five or six houses between a Friday and Sunday night. Wedding gifts are usually given to them at this time. 



Many times the couple will set up housekeeping with one of the parents until they are financially ready to either buy, rent, or build a new home.  Usually within six months, the couple is ready to move into a home of their own, and the groom will have begun growing his beard.  This is an Amish tradition that signifies a man is married.  There is no exchanging of rings; the Amish do not wear any type of jewelry.

The wife may continue to work part time outside the home, continuing her cleaning business or working in a local establishment. But they soon retire to begin their family.  With no dishwashing machine, automatic washer/dryer, and other time saving electrical devices, it takes a full time housekeeper to keep the household running.  Most Amish housewives keep a large vegetable garden, put up jars of jelly, jam, vegetables, cooked meats, pie fillings, relish (chow-chow), and fruits, keep a spotless home, quilt, sew their family’s clothes, cook large meals three times a day, and manage a large family.  It is no wonder that the majority of married women do not work outside the home.



As a final note, Amish marriages are until death we do part, there is no divorce.  Widows and widowers are free to remarry and are encouraged to do so.  Couples can live apart, but regardless of the reason, there is no divorce and remarriage for the Amish. 


3 comments:



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  2. Great post! So interesting to see how different communities celebrate the sacrament of marriage.

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  3. Excellent and Interesting Information/Post. I enjoyed reading it. Thank You for sharing

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