Amish holidays are a time for traditional religious and family celebrations. One thing that is important to remember about Amish holidays is these celebrations may differ from one community to another.
Amish Holidays: Christmas
Amish spend Christmas remembering Christ’s birth and visiting with family. They celebrate Old Christmas and Second Christmas. Old Christmas began as early as 354 AD. It falls on January 6th which is exactly twelve days after Christmas. The Three Wise Men traveled to Bethlehem on this date. There they found the baby Jesus. Second Christmas is celebrated on the day after Christmas. The Amish continue their celebration of Christmas through this second day.
The Amish celebrated Christmas by caroling, preforming Christmas programs and family time. Amish do exchange gifts. They do not put up Christmas trees or decorated their homes. The Amish see these as distractions from the story of Christ’s birth. You will also not see a Santa Claus, a nativity scene or angel figurines in an Amish home during Christmas season. Amish can decorate their homes using greenery.
Unlike public and private schools, Amish children do not get even a whole week of school off, let alone two weeks. They will get Christmas day and Second Christmas day. Both days are times of rest for the whole family except the women. The women have cooking to do.
Amish Holidays: Easter
Good Friday is a day of rest, prayer and fasting. Saturday is a day full of preparation for Sunday. They do chores such as cleaning the house and starting meals. Sunday morning is church services with preaching on the reason for Easter. It is a day of family gatherings when they return home. Amish Children do color Easter eggs and some even have egg hunts. There is no Easter Bunny. Easter Monday is another Amish holiday the Amish observe. The Amish believe that if Jesus died on a Friday, then three days in the grave means he rose from the dead on Monday not Sunday. This holiday takes place the day after Easter. In addition, it is another day of rest and reflection.
Ascension day occurs forty days after Easter. This day is the Amish holiday that is the anniversary of Jesus ascending into heaven. His ascension was after he rose from the dead and appeared to his apostles. It is a day of rest and reflection. Time is spent with family. Some communities may have church services. Amish businesses are closed.
Pentecost is actually on Sunday but the Amish celebrate it on Monday. Sometimes this Amish holiday is called Whit Monday. It is on fiftieth day after Easter. The celebration occurs because of the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles. The Amish community will spend this day with family and friends. Businesses are closed and games are played.
Amish Holidays: Thanksgiving
The Amish celebrate Thanksgiving much the same way as the English. There is a big meal and family. This Amish holiday sometimes takes a backseat to a wedding. Thanksgiving falls right in the middle of wedding seasons. It is not uncommon for Thanksgiving to fall on a wedding day. Amish weddings occur on Tuesday and Thursday. Thanksgiving in the Amish community sometimes includes a turkey, but not always.