Today is Ascension Day, a moveable feast observed by Amish in some settlements but not in others (and of course, by other Christian denominations as well).
Last year’s piece on the Amish & Ascension Day looked at how Amish in some places mark the day. Businesses are often closed and the day is spent as a family day or opportunity to visit.
I have no hard data, but it seems to me that more Amish observe the day than do not. Besides those in Lancaster County, northern Indiana, and Holmes County, you shared a number of other communities where Ascension Day is observed, including Ethridge, Tennessee, Cadiz, Kentucky, and Appanoose County, Iowa.
Reader Al in KY added an interesting experience he once had in Indiana:
Ascension Day is definitely observed in the Paoli and Orleans, Ind., communities I often visit. I think it is the least well-known religious holiday amongst non-Amish who visit Amish communities.
I’m sure that many non-Amish have gone to Amish stores/farms to purchase things on Ascension Day and have found on that day it is “no sale”. It is hard to remember because it changes every year and often falls on a weekday.
I’ll never forget on Ascension Day in 2011, I went to an Amish farm at Paoli to place a large order for produce and found at the driveway into the farm two large sawhorses, with ropes hung in-between stating, “No sales today – religious holiday”. This was interesting, because on Sundays they just have a simple sign by the driveway “No sales today”.
So if you’re looking to visit an Amish store today, chances are you may run into something like Al did. If you’re not sure, you might want to wait until tomorrow.
Swiss do not observe Ascension Day?
As for those who do not observe the day, Kevin Williams shared in The Amish Cook at Home that the Swiss Amish of Adams County, Indiana do not do anything special for the Ascension. Contributor Tom Geist also discovered that those in Seymour, Missouri do not mark the feast.
Based on this, it’s possible that Ascension Day is generally not observed in the Swiss Amish tradition.