Sunday is a holy day in the Christian world. Since the Amish are Christian group settled in North America, Sunday has a special meaning for them too. In the Amish community, every other Sunday is reserved for church service, but every Sunday is perfect for family and friends visits and rest.
On Sundays, The Amish people go to church, pray, visit family and friends and rest. All shops and businesses are closed on Sundays in Amish communities.
Even though they try not to perform hard work on Sundays a minimum amount of work is necessary, especially for the Amish farmers who raise livestock. The Amish women try to prepare all meals at least one day in advance so they don’t have to spend the Holy day in the kitchen.
Can Amish Work On Sundays?
The Amish cannot work on Sundays since it’s the day for worship and rest. The Amish consider Bible as a holy guideline for everyday life. Since the Bible says that Lord God created the earth and heavens in 6 days and then rested on the 7th day, the Amish were always looking for the appropriate way to keep this day holy.
They achieved that by dedicating themselves to prayers, reading scriptures, worship and rest on Sundays.
You might be curious about Amish and how come they don’t work and keep their business closed on Sunday.To get that you must understand that this community was never profit-oriented. That means that they have never been focused of wealth production.
So non-working Sunday doesn’t represent a lost profit for them but the holy day during which they celebrate the church, pray and rest.
Of course, there is no doubt that most Amish will have to perform the minimum work on Sundays, especially those that keep livestock. But the Amish will do only what is really necessary on Sundays. The rest of the work will wait on the next week.
How does The Church Service Look Like in Amish communities?
The Amish attend the church service every other Sunday.
What is different from other Christians is that the Amish church services are not held in church itself but inside of people’s houses.
They don’t build church buildings. The church services may take place inside the house but also outside if the weather is nice, or even in the barn or shop.
Every other Sunday, families take turns in hosting church services in their homes. The day before women from the community come to help the lady in whose home the service will be held, to tidy up the house. The man of the house clean up the barn and outside areas as a part of the preparation for the big day.
The church services start between 8:30 and 9 am and end around noon time. The Amish people gather a little bit before, do the small talk, greeting one another with shaking hands and a holy kiss on the cheek (men only). The Amish people don’t hug.
The Amish church usually have three ministers, one them is lead minister or bishop and one deacon.
The church service starts with singing the old German hymn. The Amish usually use three languages. The Pennsylvania Dutch is a low German dialect which the Amish speak in their homes with other people from the community, they learn English in school and in church, they use high German language ( from the time of Luther ). All songs and scriptures are written in that archaic languages.
The Amish usually sing two songs for every Sunday church service. During the first song, the Ministers will leave the room and go to another place to decide who will preach that day and which order they will preach.
The first Minister will preach the Anfang– the beginning message, which usually takes about 15 minutes. After that, the people will kneel to pray while the first Minister is reading a prayer from the prayer book.
After the prayer, the deacon or the second Minister will read the first scripture of the day. The third part is reserved for Mehre Teil – the main message that will be preached by the third preacher.
This part is fairly long, can take from 45-90 minutes. During this part, the snack is served for younger children. After more prayers and benediction, at the very end of the service, the Ministers will announce in which house the church services will be held next time.
However, It’s not uncommon for the Amish from one church district to travel to another, just to attend the church services on Sundays if it is not held in their home district.
What Do Amish Eat on Sundays?
Sunday supper is the main meal of the Holy day. It is usually served right after the church services. The food is provided by the host family but from the neighbours as well.
The most common food found on the Amish Sunday menu is : homemade bread and butter, cold meat, cold chicken, cheese, pickles, church spread ( peanut butter, marshmallow cream and corn syrup) ,jelly, pies and desserts. Drinks that are usually served are coffee, tea, lemonade and milk.
The adult men have lunch first, then women with the younger children while teens eat last.
How Does The Sunday Afternoon Look Like in The Amish Community?
In the afternoon everything slows down. After the main meal, the ladies will clean up the tables, children will go outside to play and men will stay and chat with each other a little while.
Sunday afternoon is reserved for visiting friends and relatives. If a young couple recently had a baby, Sundays afternoon is the perfect time for family and friends to come and see the baby.
Visiting older people who are not able to attend church services and the Sunday supper afterward is also something that the Amish people do.
What Do The Amish Do On Sunday Nights?
While adults and family men and women In the Sunday evenings rest at their homes, young people ( singles only )are allowed to come together. This is time when they can sing ( in low German ), and this is the time and the place when the Amish romances start.
The boys are sitting on one side of the table and the girls are sitting on the opposite side.
The Amish are not allowed to dance but they can sing and the songs the young people sing on Sunday evenings are not religious, but folk and country songs. At the end, the boy will ask the girl he likes if he can take her home.
The Amish people keep the Sunday holy. They will do what is absolutely necessary and nothing above that. Their shops and businesses are closed, this day is dedicated to worship, prayers and rest.
Every other Sunday the church services will be held in someone’s house, after which the hearty meal will be served. The afternoon is reserved for visiting friends and relatives while the evening is especially interesting for younger unmarried people who come together and sing. This is the moment when Amish romance starts.