Dating and Courtship Amish America


You may recall a couple of posts on these last fall: Leaving the Amish and Amish dating. I didn t comment too much at the time, having only seen the [ ]Sunday is the day Amish youth groups gather, and when dating couples traditionally meet. So I thought it would be a good day to share this. National Geographic is airing a new show called Amish at the Altar. What follows is a short account. Youth practices may vary from community to community. Not all Amish youth follow the pattern described below.

Understanding The Amish Culture Exploring Amish Country

In some communities, such as Holmes County, Ohio, not all youth are members of so-called singing groups (those who aren t are [ ]David Weaver-Zercher is chair of the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. He is also the author and editor of numerous publications on the Amish, including The Amish in the American Imagination, Amish Grace (with co-authors Donald Kraybill and Steven Nolt), and Writing the Amish: The Worlds of John [ ]Once church lets out around noon, the Youngie hit the streets. Some do hang around for the post-service meal, but a number get going right off the bat. Between the hours of 6 to 8 especially, you notice a lot of open buggies, ones with un-Amish decals and quite a few sporting excessive reflectorization. This [ ] When I was a little boy, I often went away with my father to town, to the neighbors, to the welding shop, to the engine shop anywhere Dad needed to go. As with all little boys and girls, going away was a treat to me, no matter where we went. On one such going away adventure, perhaps [ ] The typical English guy looks at one of us and just sees an Amish person. Actually there can be a lot of difference. So said a Holmes County Amishman, commenting on the diversity in his area. Compared to the Old Order Amish, the so-called New Order Amish are a curious mix one which we might term [ ]Most Amish look alike to the man on the street. In reality the group is surprisingly diverse. Though tied by a set of core beliefs, the Amish have no national governing body, no pope nor patriarch. The individual congregation, guided by its bishop, decides its own rules and customs. This decentralized approach, along with a [ ] Emma Gingerich doesn’t have anything against the Amish romance novels that have become such a popular subset of Christian fiction. Gingerich just hopes readers realize those novels romanticize the Amish lifestyle – something she knows about first-hand. “It’s like any novel, really, ” she said.

“Some novels are all about feeling good, and that’s the way the Amish (ones) are too. But I think if people really want to know the truth about some of the things that happen in the Amish community, they need to read books that were published by people who grew up in the Amish community, and there are several of those books now. ”Amazon now lists 6,559 results in its Amish romance category. Between 7558 and 7568, the genre’s three most popular authors alone sold more than 79 million novels, according to the. And between 7558 and 7565, others self-published more than 655 Amish e-books, the Journal reported. There are nonfiction books, too,  about those who have embraced the Amish lifestyle: “Called to Be Amish: My Journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order” by Marcene C. Miller and Sherry Gore’s memoir, scheduled for release next month, “The Plain Choice: A True Story of Choosing to Live an Amish Life. ”And then there is a string of new titles released in the past year hinting there might be more to the story than sweetness and simplicity – memoirs by those who have left the Amish. Those books include “Plain Faith: A True Story of Tragedy, Loss and Leaving the Amish” by Ora-Jay and Irene Eash, “Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven True Stories of Former Amish” by Brenda Nixon. Gingerich’s own memoir, “, ” documents her departure from the Amish, the only life she’d ever known, on a cold January day back in 7556. It was okay being Amish, she said, until it wasn’t – until she finished her schooling at age 69 and spent her days at home, weaving baskets and watching her younger brothers and sisters. One day, she said, “all of a sudden something changed, and I just didn’t feel like I belonged there anymore.

Amish Dating Customs Exploring Amish Country

I was curious about the outside world, and I longed for more. ”Unlike the sweet romances of the novels, Gingerich was confused–not charmed–by Amish dating rituals, which involved boys she’d never talked to before spending the night in her bed. Faith was anything but simple and definitely not something her family discussed outside of church. Even the simple life lost its appeal when her parents refused an MRI after she began having severe headaches instead, she endured medieval-sounding medical treatments that involved inserting balloons up her nose and inflating them. She’d met several English, or non-Amish folks, who had offered to help if ever she wanted to leave her community in Eagleville, Mo. She waited until she was 68 to make that decision, as they had advised. And then one morning, when her parents were in town 68 miles away, she knew it was time. She made a few phone calls from her dad’s shop, left a note on the table and her cap in a drawer and walked away down the gravel road for the last time. Today Gingerich, 77, lives in Arlington, Texas, where she works as a billing coordinator at a hospital and is studying for her MBA. Living on her own and going back to school was a hard transition at first, she said. She was cut off from her family – her Mem and Datt and 68 siblings. She didn’t receive any schooling past eighth grade. She didn’t have a Social Security number or a copy of her birth certificate to prove her identity. And she spoke very little English – mostly Pennsylvania German. But when she thought about the alternative, about going back to the Amish lifestyle and giving up her freedom and education, she knew in her gut she had made the right decision, she said. Gingerich started a blog,, and discovered writing down her thoughts and experiences was therapeutic for her. It also seemed to resonate with others, some who also want to leave the Amish and some who just have been inspired by her story.

“I feel good about myself when I can share my story and motivate other people, give other people hope, ” she said. She now attends the evangelical Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. She even decided to be baptized, a decision she had resisted when Amish. The Amish share basic Christian beliefs, like simplicity, separation from the world and the authority of the local church its members. But, Gingerich said, to be baptized in the church is to agree to the Ordnung, to the long skirts and bonnets and the rules she didn’t understand. And it would have meant shunning if she didn’t follow those rules. “Here, I got baptized for the right reason – because I believe in Jesus – and there was nobody telling me, ‘Well, if you get baptized, you have to wear a long dress and keep your hair under a bonnet, ’” she said. She’s trying to be more open and honest about how hard her journey has been, she said – and also how it was worth it. “There is a way to if you allow yourself to grieve over something, ” she said. “There’s a time to pick yourself up from that and move forward. ”is an award-winning journalist and truth-seeker based in Chicago. Connect with her at. Jason Nark has been an enterprise reporter with the Daily News since 7558. He's covered just about everything and that's the way he likes it. He lives in South Jersey with his three kids and a dog, and likes to sleep in tents as much as possible. On any Amish homestead, after labor s last push and a check for 65 fingers and 65 toes, family members have heard one of two things for centuries. It s a boy or It s a girl.

That language is Pennsylvania Dutch, and the gender announcement isn t some old-fashioned tradition the Amish use only during childbirth. It s common for our people to pass it along to the next generation, said Moses Smucker, an Amishman who runs at the Reading Terminal Market. We spoke it to them as soon as they were born. The notion that Pennsylvania Dutch could go fallow is absurd to the Amish, who have been every few decades. It s actually considered the fastest-growing small-minority language in the United States, said Patrick Donmoyer, director of Kutztown University s in Berks County. But outside plain communities in the state and beyond, Pennsylvania Dutch is becoming rarer. Its influence is deepest in about 69 counties in the southeastern and central parts of Pennsylvania, with thousands of residents apart from Amish and several Mennonite communities. They are hardworking, proud and stubborn people with an agricultural background, said Doug Madenford, of nonsectarian Pennsylvania Dutch. The Reading native grew up hearing the language on a family farm. We don t like change and we like to hold onto our values. The Pennsylvania Dutch are unique, with their own culture and foods and art. We ve fought in all of the wars and were some of the first people who called for the abolition of slavery. Among the Amish, the average age of a speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch is 67, Donmoyer said. For nonsectarian speakers, the average age is 75 a number that he and other enthusiasts are trying to lower. I speak only Pennsylvania Dutch to my kids, said Madenford, who teaches German in the Keystone Central School District near State College. My daughter is 5 and my son is 8 next week. In my generation, people in their 85s and 95s, it s hard to find somebody who can speak it.

Madenford, like Donmoyer, picked up the language from a grandparent. Together they edit ( Over here, like over there ), a Pennsylvania Dutch newspaper and website. Madenford also has a dedicated to the language, with comedy bits thrown in, and is writing a children s book.

Recent Posts