Three Lancaster observations

After three weeks in the county, three more observations from Lancaster:

Hair–men’s hairstyles here seem to range from the very short and close cropped to the much more Swartzentruber-esque bob.  Women’s hair is arranged a bit differently than midwestern Amish curled in tightly at the sides–almost too tight–but more on that later.

Mennonites–the Old Order Mennonite population is significant here, with many ‘buggy Mennonites‘ populating the northeastern chunk of the county.  The Amish tend to be found most heavily in the center, eastern and southeastern parts of the county, though church districts can be found spread out to the north and west, and with quite a few in neighboring Chester County.  Amish buggies here are grey, Mennonite ones black.  Another way to tell them apart:  Mennonite homes have bikes out front, while the Amish here only allow scooters.

One Amish farmer explained to me how the Amish and Old Order Mennonites cooperate on schooling, teaching their children together in the same one-room schoolhouses.  He described it as a bit of give-and-take between the two groups but that it generally worked well.

Accent–the typical Lancaster English accent is somewhat different than that of Holmes or Lagrange Counties, having a hollow, lilting ring to it–if that description makes any sense.  Again, as I talk to more and more Amish (conversations with Amish make up 95% of the speaking I do any given day), I find myself inadvertently mimicking it.

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    2 Comments

    1. Dave Carrig

      Heya AA –

      Do you know if the OO Menonites also speak the PA Dutch form of German – as do the Amish? Being over in Chester County I have no dealings with those folks. The men seem to wear a different type of hat and dress more modernly – from what I’ve seen. The women also wear a more colorful arrangement of cloathing – though still plain.

      I’ve also heard rumor that the OO Mennonites are quite accepting of converts into their folds. Do you know if there is any truth to that?

    2. Converts to Old Order Mennonites; PA Dutch

      hey Dave,

      I believe they do–I’ve tried out the limited PA Dutch I know from the Amish on a few Mennonite families and they seemed to understand no problem. On the link I gave on the post it has some Mennonite speakers as well as Amish demonstrating PA dutch.

      I’ve been around a lot of OOMs this week and the clothing reminds me alot of what I’d picture a 1950’s farmer would wear.

      As to converts I do not know how accepting, it would probably depend to some degree on the level of conservatism as there are some Mennonites–the more modern ones– that happen to be quite evangelical and outward-looking as regards the world and converts, which would contrast alot with the Amish. So that doesn’t answer you to well but if I find out I’ll let you know. Thanks a ton for reading, I appreciate it!!

      Erik