Amish ceremonies play a large part in the Amish communities. Baptism, communion, weddings, and funerals are four of the ceremonies that the Amish perform. Different Amish orders may have slight variations from the ones presented here. Rumspringa, an Amish coming of age ritual, often ends with baptism. Baptism happens when an Amish child, after Rumspringa, decides to join the Amish church. This usually happens between age sixteen and the early twenties This decision is not taken lightly. It is a commitment made to God. They give up worldly pleasure and promise to obey the church for the rest of their life. The alternative is to leave the Amish community.
Communion is another important ceremony in the Amish community. Communion reminds Amish of the sacrifice that was made for their sake. It is a service that celebrates the Lord’s supper. During this time, self-examination and spiritual rejuvenation are emphasized. A couple of weeks before communion, baptized Amish, confess their sins publicly and renew their commitment to the Church. Communion is held twice a year, in the fall and the spring. It usually last several hours. The ceremony ends with members washing and drying each other’s feet.
Weddings are typically performed on a Tuesday or Thursday in the fall, after the harvest season. With so many marriages, some communities now have them year around. In these communities, the wedding seasons begins in late October and goes to about mid-March. The wedding is held at the bride’s family’s home. The wedding last three hours and is followed by a meal. Weddings are usually a time to invite English friends to attend. They normally do not attend the service but do join in the meal afterwards. After the wedding, the white cape and apron worn by the women in the ceremony is kept in a safe place until her funeral.
The last ceremony I’ll talk about is the funeral. During a funeral, the focus is on God and the community rather then focus on the person themselves. It is a simple, plain event with no flowers or a eulogy. The service takes place in either a barn or a family member’s home. Family and friends help at the first word of a death by doing chores and funeral preparations. Bodies are buried in a family ceremony.
In all of these ceremonies the main focus is always God.