I may have missed this before, but this is the first year I’ve seen the Calender printed in an English version as well as in the usual high German.
The bulk of the 88-page pamphlet, produced by an Ohio Amish printer, is a more-or-less comprehensive listing of Old Order Amish church districts along with their respective ministers.
The Calender/Almanac also contains a curious mixture of folk wisdom, Christian teaching, and astrology.
Astrology? Sounds strange, especially for the Amish, but it seems to be the case. For example, on the back cover, one finds a chart entitled Anatomy of Man’s Body, As said to be governed by the twelve constellations.
The 2008 Almanac also informs us that ‘Jupiter is the Reigning Planet this year‘ and gives the prognosis for a range of topics:
FISH. Will everywhere be moderately abundant.
DISEASE. In the Autumn headaches and hypochondriac diseases will prevail.
GRAPE CULTURE. In the course of twenty-eight years it happens scarcely once–as the ancients say–that in one year of that series a good vintage will take place, and mostly but an ordinary wine will be produced.
The booklet also lists important days for the 2008 calendar year, including church feasts and the beginning and ending of the summer ‘dog days’, a listing of church readings and hymns, and Christian-themed poetry.
It’s curious to see the Amish distribute a guide with such a sizable dose of zodiac-infused ‘wisdom’.
Though certain Amish may have had a history of buying into ‘suspect’ sources of wisdom–practitioners of the more ‘hokey’ medical practices come to mind–I’m not so sure the Amish take the astrological bit of the Calender so seriously, if at all.
Since its much earlier incarnations, the almanac has typically contained folklorish bits of knowledge, good chunks of both astronomy and astrology, weather divination, and the like, and that tradition seems to have carried over into today’s Calender.
Finally, the Calender/Almanac contains a fair dose of humor. Here’s a bit from this year’s edition:
The mother of a 6-year old met him as he got off the bus and asked, “How was your school day?”
“Mom,” he replied, “today our teacher asked me whether I had any brothers or sisters, and I told her I was an only child.”
“And what did she say, dear?”
She said, “Thank goodness.”