As the Christmas celebrations approach, you may be wondering- Do the Amish celebrate Christmas? Christmas is a joyful and peaceful time when families gather to share love and gifts.
For some families, Christmas is a religious occasion, as it marks the birth of Christ.
While most Christians do not view gift-giving, trees, and decorations as diversions from this holy meaning, Christmas is completely different for conservative groups like the Amish community.
Yes, The Amish Celebrate Christmas. Christmas is a big celebration in the community because of its religious significance.
What is Old Christmas?
The Amish observe what they refer to as "Old Christmas." This event occurs precisely 12 days after Christmas Day and commemorates the "Three Kings' Day," also known as Epiphany when Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem in search of baby Jesus.
On this day, the Amish take a moment to reflect on the signification of the Magi's visit and the meaning of gifts they brought to the Infant Jesus.
If it falls on a Sunday, some people may go to church as a part of their Old Christmas celebration. Also, this has been marked as a holy fasting day that is closed by a feast that involves dining with family.
The History of the Old Christmas
According to Amish belief, the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem on January 6th (12 days following Christmas) to visit the newborn Jesus.
For centuries, Christmas was also observed on January 6th. But, the Julian calendar (founded on lunar phases) was abandoned in 1952 in favor of the contemporary Gregorian calendar.
In the years that followed, Christmas celebrations were moved to December 25th— although many protestant sects, notably the Anabaptists, maintained their celebration date on January 6th.
The Amish have maintained their Old Christmas practice over time while also embracing the December 25th Christmas along with contemporary society.
However, as noted above, the Amish Old Christmas celebration is distinct from a mainstream December 25th Christmas. For instance, the Amish observe the day by closing their businesses, giving their employees day offs, fasting, and having a massive feast later in the day.
Do Amish Decorate for Christmas?
No, the Amish don't decorate their homes for Christmas with beautifully decorated trees or strings of lights.
Also, children are not allowed to visit, take photos with Santa Claus, or tell him what they want for Christmas. What matters most to the Amish is that there is a purpose for Christmas.
How do the Amish celebrate Christmas?
The point of the Christmas celebration is to gather everyone together, spend time with loved ones, go out to eat, and indulge in candy.
Some Amish homes may decorate their tables with candle-lit centerpieces, poinsettias, or garland while maintaining the highest level of simplicity as much as they can.
In most cases, they will share some unique candies and cookies with green decorations. Over the years, they have also enjoyed buying or crafting Christmas cards, which they anticipate with delight to send and receive.
They often display the cards around their houses as a simple way to decorate for the festivities.
Amish Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinners are a key element of the Amish celebration. They are often lavish feasts, similar to those offered at wedding parties, and other individuals except family will gather. This includes single ladies, professionals, and others with similar interests.
The Amish Christmas traditional dinner menu includes turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a pudding (cream cheese covered with green and red gelatin), amongst other foods.
Additionally, there will be an abundance of treats! While Christmas dinner is traditionally served the day after the 25th for certain Amish families, others observe "Second Christmas" as a day for fasting and prayer.
After Christmas, the Amish have what we may call a "traditional" Christmas, which is known as the "second Christmas." This is a time for getting together with loved ones, exchanging little gifts, and savoring delicious food and company.
Schoolchildren usually exchange gifts like needlepoint kits in return for their names when gifting. On the other hand, families exchange gift cards and presents with "English" friends.
It is worth mentioning that, as indicated previously, certain Amish villages will observe "Old Christmas" on January 6th. This date is always 12 days following Christmas—-the canonical date for the Three Wise Men who visited Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
It is expected that after this Second Christmas, they will continue to organize Christmas feasts and gatherings for their families and friends. Due to the size of the Amish settlements – and hence the volume of Christmas invites – many Amish people will observe Christmas long into February!
Do the Amish put up Christmas Trees?
No. The Amish do not put up Christmas trees. Their favorite activity and what the Amish look forward to is watching the Christmas show put on by the community's one-room schoolhouse students.
This is the highlight of the Christmas celebrations in some of the Amish groups.
In fact, they may invite their English neighbors to join them for the celebrations. This is a fun time for everyone, including performances, recitations, singing, and gifting!
Do the Amish hold church services on Christmas Day?
Although the Christmas church service is not always held on December 25th, the usual Christmas and second Christmas are observed as Amish holidays.
On the other hand, a religious service may be held at the host's home before the other events begin. Typically, one component of the Amish worldview that distinguishes them from other conservative Christian faiths is their practice of home worship.
You may get a bewildered look from an Amish guy if you inquire where their church of worship is, or he may point to his store or say that their Amish church is physically located in a structure but in a congregation of individuals. This perspective has a historical underpinning that may well elaborate its practice to date.
When the early Anabaptists feared being persecuted, they were forced to conduct their meetings behind closed doors in the woods and caverns.
The State Catholic church's structures were viewed as icons of opulence and worldliness. At the time, the Anabaptists — like Amish today — saw little practical purpose in erecting a church edifice that would be used only infrequently.
Anabaptists continued to assemble informally when persecution eased, and they could practice their faith more freely.
Additionally, the Amish hold a literal Biblical perspective of church as not just a physical structure but the people and community that makes it up.
By holding church services at a number of different locations, they emphasize the value of the community of faith within the church and downplay the relevance of the building.
Do Amish sing Christmas Carols?
Yes. Amish children sing Christmas songs. Nothing truly conveys the message "Christmas is here" as the melodic tones of holiday music hitting on our chilled eardrums.
Even more so, Christmas carols bring a certain warmth and enthusiasm that helps brighten the cold month of December for everyone.
Christmas carols are simple traditional melodies that commemorate the birth of Jesus and are performed in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They are almost always melodic, memorable, and stunning.
It is common for instructors of schoolchildren in the Amish community to adapt popular Christmas carols like "Jingle Bells" by adding new phrases to make them more appropriate for their religious practices. During the school program, students perform carols for their parents.
The Ausbund, an old hymnal, is used when it comes to Amish church services. Because the Ausbund book does not include musical notation, the songs in the book are passed down orally from generation to generation among the Amish.
To begin the ceremony, an Amish male will take the lead, singing the first few lines before the rest of the congregation joins in.
A single note of a few lines might last 30-40 seconds or more if the singer takes a few extra seconds to concentrate on each note. This is because the singing is drawn out. The singing tempo of different groups varies, with the more traditional Amish people singing slower.
The Loblied, also known as the "praise hymn," is the second song performed during every church service. Ministers stream out of the house soon after the singing begins to debate who would give a sermon that day.
A portion of this time will be spent providing informational courses to anybody interested in baptism. It takes about a half-hour for them to return, and as the song's final stanza concludes, the first speaker of the day rises to start the sermon.
Generally, while people celebrate Christmas in different ways worldwide, it is not widely observed in America.
Clearly, describing the Amish is far more difficult than their modest lifestyles suggest. Regardless, they all mark the holidays in some way.
The Amish are a unique people group that is impossible to generalize about. Their holiday customs and ceremonies vary by family, group, and church district, like any other cultural or ethnic community.
Humility is a major component of the Amish principles. This fact is evident in the manner in which the Amish celebrate Christmas.
They do it in a joyful manner, marked with food, and interactions with family, and friends, while they live out their religious convictions.