As in other Christian churches, Easter is an important holiday for the Amish. What do the Amish do during the Easter season?
First it’s worth mentioning that not all Amish observe holidays in the same way. Local and family customs can vary. Though some things will be consistent, there is not necessarily an “Amish” way of celebrating a given holiday.
Easter of course is not an obscure holiday. Observance will generally span from Good Friday through Easter Sunday, and in some communities, Easter Monday is observed as well. It will involve fasting, prayer and visiting with family. Eggs are a part of Amish Easter. However, not all Amish will necessarily attend church on a given Easter Sunday (see below).
Below you’ll find accounts of Amish Easter observance from several communities – Holmes County, Ohio, southern Michigan, and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. While there may be some small variations, I think you’ll find these descriptions quite similar. As you might expect, Easter is both a solemn and joyful holiday for the Amish.
1. Holmes County, Ohio
First, from an Amish Heartland article on Easter in the Holmes County community (article removed at source):
The Easter season is one filled with sober reflection and joyous celebration for the Amish Community.
The season begins on Good Friday, the day that Christ was crucified with a fast in the morning.
Amish community members believe in fasting for sober holidays because it reflects the sacred day, said Atlee Miller of the Berlin Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center.
From Saturday until Monday, family and friends visit each other and socialize.
The days are usually capped off with a big meal, but it is not as big of a feast as Christmas or Thanksgiving, Miller said.
Children color and hide eggs, and eggs are eaten at the Easter table, as they symbolize rebirth, Miller explained.
2. Southern Michigan
Amish mother Lovina Eicher, who writes the Amish Kitchen column, shared how Easter works in her southern Michigan community:
Friday is Good Friday and we look forward to Easter on Sunday. Good Friday we traditionally keep as a holiday, so no one in our family will go to work or school. The Amish churches in this community have “Fast” (no eating) and prayer until noon. Our family will all be here and have family time. Then we’ll gather here for the noon meal.
On Easter Sunday we will go to church. Easter is the time to rejoice and be thankful for the gift of life Jesus gave for someone like you and me.
The younger children still enjoy coloring eggs for Easter. As I was growing up we always colored eggs. The bright colored eggs always remind me of the colors of the rainbow. Our parents taught us the true meaning of Easter. May we all remember the true meaning of Easter.
3. Somerset County, Pennsylvania
On Friday morning we would get up, do what ever chores that needed to be done. Cows and other animals have this way of needing to be cared for no matter what else is going on. After chores were done we would wash up and then sit in the living room since Good Friday was a day of fasting it was more sober and solemn than a normal Sunday. We would read the Bible and the prayers in the little black prayer book and the German, Rules of a Godly Life book. There was no playing and any talking was done in hushed tones.
It was always a relief once the day was over. The next day always seemed to carry some of the previous days solemness with it as we hurried to do all the regular Saturday cleaning and preparing lots of food for the next two days so we wouldn’t have to cook much.
Easter Sundays we would treat like any other Sunday except Mom would make soft boiled eggs for breakfast. Thankfully that was a once a year occurrence! If it was our church Sunday we would go to church. Otherwise we would stay at home and read, play games, write letters, and things along that line.
Easter Monday was also a non-work day in Mary Ann’s community.
So, I hope you enjoyed these three Amish perspectives on this important holiday. I’ll be visiting my grandmother this Easter. A Happy Easter to all readers observing the season!
Watch the video version of this post (Runtime 5:49):