How do the Amish celebrate Easter?

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.

Additionally, when it comes to more obscure holidays, in some communities they may be observed, while in others, they are not. See Ascension Day or St. Michael’s Day for instance.

dyed-pastel-easter-eggsEaster 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.

The annual Raber’s Almanac contains a list of church & secular holidays observed by Amish

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.

windmill-next-to-amish-home
Photo: Cindy Cornett Seigle

3. Somerset County, Pennsylvania

Finally, Amish-raised Mary Ann Kinsinger described on her Joyful Chaos blog how her Somerset County, PA family used to observe the Easter season:

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):

Updated April 2023

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    10 Comments

    1. M.H.G.

      HOW DO AMISH CELEBRATE EASTER?

      I enjoyed this Amish Easter article comparing holiday notes…
      ___________________________________________________
      Hope to attend Easter Service this weekend…
      WE will get together with our family late Sunday
      afternoon for a Easter Celebration Feast too!
      (Boiling eggs & using beet juice to color, also)

    2. Harry Troyer

      In-between church Sunday

      Since Amish hold church services every other Sunday, what di they do if Easter falls on the off Sunday

    3. Amishgirl-Rebecca

      Typically it would be a day for family gatherings of grandparents, uncles, aunts,etc. whoever doesn’t have church will get together for a big meal and socializing. As a family growing up Dad would always read the Easter story for us and he and Mom hid the eggs (we colored the night before )for us to find.

      1. Urs

        Sounds very similar what my family did in Switzerland at Easter, and still do here in Canada!

    4. Alice Mary

      It’s always interesting to learn about differences in celebrations. Clearly the Amish are not much different than the rest of us (varying customs depending on the community).

      In my old Polish-American community in Chicago (growing up) we’d always pack a basket of special food to be blessed at our local church by the parish priest. Do the Amish do any such thing related to Easter “food”? Perhaps a special “grace” said before the main Easter meal? Just wondering.

      Alice Mary

      1. Blessings and saying grace in the Amish church

        Hi Alice Mary, sorry responding a little late here, but I am familiar with the food blessing at Easter, it is common in places in Europe like Poland for instance. Generally Amish don’t have blessings of objects and people as a part of their faith expression, as is common in the Catholic faith.

        As for prayer, it is typically silent (with some exceptions as might be found in New Order churches for instance) so any special grace would only be known to the individual 🙂

    5. FireDog

      Bright Colors

      Are the colors of the eggs bright? just curious as I always thought anything bright and colorful was shyed away from.

      1. Bright things are not necessarily discouraged (Amish flower gardens would be pretty drab otherwise)…what you may be thinking of regards dress in some communities, which are going to have darker colors like navy and brown used for shirts and dresses. In some Amish communities though, quite bright colors are used for clothing, even yellows and pinks (though might be more common with younger people).

    6. Ken Pack

      Also...

      Pertinent scriptures and seasonal hymns are used in the Easter church, or preaching Sunday closest to it, and the ordinances (particularly Communion, foot washing, the holy kiss, and giving of alms [notably]) are observed in virtually all Amish congregations. Someone correct me, please, if this is not the case.

    7. Ken Pack

      Also too..

      The Ordinance aspect of the Easter (and Fall) church could well be the subject of a whole nother column- or, better still, series!