Amish Cook columnist Gloria Yoder shares some words of wisdom coming from nearly 12 years of marriage in her latest column this week. She also comments on celebrations of Valentine’s Day among the Amish and in her own home. I’ll share an excerpt focusing on that aspect, and you can find the rest of her thoughts at the full column here:
Yes, Valentine’s Day is a special time for us to celebrate our love for each other, yet we don’t do so lightly. Surely love is a miracle from God!
Valentine’s Day is not widely celebrated in most Amish communities. Like anything else, it’s not the same across the globe, even in comparing Amish communities. Even in our home, it varies from year to year. A year ago, we ladies at church had a surprise Valentine’s supper for the men. A candle-lit supper with a hearty meal of various appetizers, mashed potatoes, gravy, barbecued ribs, salad, butter horns, and brownie sundaes in goblets was topped of with golden moments beside hubby. Thank you, Grandma, for so kindly taking care of our six little ones!
After supper was exciting when all the guys, who had not been surprised by the supper, shared the inspiration of some kind regarding marriage, one of them challenged the men to try something different this year. Instead of giving a Valentine card, he encouraged them to write a letter to their wife, telling them various ways that they love their wife.
Bless Daniel’s heart, he took it seriously. He wrote a very encouraging letter which is still on our dresser a year later!
I do know Amish who celebrate Valentine’s Day and I have been at a Valentine’s-theme supper before (Lancaster County). I can’t say for sure how widely it is observed, for instance, I don’t know how the plainer Amish groups view the holiday. But I have the impression it is more widely celebrated, at least in some form (exchanging cards even) than Gloria seems to suggest here. Her accompanying recipe is Valentine’s Sweetheart Pudding.
Another PA Amish friend named John Stoltzfus addressed this topic once and suggested that the holiday has a long history among at least some Amish:
In our school the children usually exchange decorated lunches and also exchange Valentine cards etc. The youth couples have always exchanged heart-shaped candy boxes etc.
I would guess there are a lot of grandparents that have kept their Valentine cards with their school paraphernalia. We would still have ours if we wouldn’t have lost them in a house fire 11 years ago.
John’s family also does a Valentine’s supper, with all food items a shade of pink or red.