Fireworks and cookouts are the name of the game today, and some Amish will no doubt be participating in one, the other, or both.  But as you’d expect, secular holidays take a backseat to church-sanctioned ones in Amish America.

Generally speaking, Amish that are more in tune with the American mainstream (say, by virtue of occupation or church affiliation) would be more likely to participate, to whatever degree, in 4th of July celebrations.

The Amish of northern Indiana (Elkhart/Lagrange counties, Nappanee), a large chunk of whom work for non-Amish employers in the RV industry and whose orbits align perhaps a bit more with those of English America than other Amish, typically enjoy time off on Independence Day.

I recall meeting families in this settlement on the way to the local fireworks display while living in the area two summers ago.  Amish moms and kids were as excited to see the show as, say, any family plucked from American suburbia might be.

What about that most ubiquitous of American symbols, the flag?  No doubt they will be seen proudly waving on the front lawns of many homes today.  Though Amish appreciate being able to live in a democratic nation, the liberties and privileges they are allowed, and the protection they receive from the state, they rarely if ever engage in explicit displays of patriotism.  Out of the few thousand Amish homes I’ve visited in half-a-dozen states to date, I have yet to come upon one with the Stars-and-Stripes hoisted out front.  And I don’t expect to.

Not that Amish do not feel appreciation for their country, it’s likely more a matter of tying themselves and identifying themselves with a symbol of the world.  Then again, you don’t see Christian crosses adorning the exteriors of Amish homes, mailboxes, or front lawns, either.  There are probably a few reasons for this.  One might be an inherent humility that says that one should bear Christian witness by actions rather than through showy displays.

Though you could also argue that the physical appearance of the Amish is a type of display in and of itself.

But back from tangents.  In any case, if you happen to run into any Amish at fireworks displays today, ask them how they feel about the holiday.  I would myself, but I am not due back among my Amish friends until next month.  I’d be curious what you hear, though.

See also: What holidays do Amish celebrate?


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