How do the Amish celebrate New Year's?
We are so thankful for all that 2020 has taught us, but I think we are all looking forward to 2021! As we have celebrated the holidays Covid style, with new and creative ways to gather and give gifts, I thought it would be interesting to shine some light on our Amish friends, and the way that they ring in the New Year.
Each Amish church and community is different, and has its own set of dynamics, rules, and traditions. Our particular community is of the Schwartzentruper Church, and have some of the most conservative rules of all of the Amish churches.
New Years Eve: Although some of the young rebellious teens might take off and do a little partying (driving around in horse and buggy with some type of bootlegged beer or liquor), our Amish community discourages the drinking of alcohol. Most Amish will treat the night before New Year's as a regular night, going to bed on time as usual. Some will stay up by lantern light and watch the pendulum clock strike midnight before going to bed. There is no TV, no electricity, and no phones, and there is no gathering for parties or entertainment.
New Years Day: Now this is where things can get exciting for the Amish! Although New Year's Day is a holiday, it is not considered a Holy day. That means that there is not church, or fasting, or times of prayer as other holidays require. Because New Year's is a holiday, it is truly a free day, or a day free of work! Livestock and farm chores still need to be done, but a man's trade or shop can be closed for the day. You can imagine how enjoyable it would be to enjoy a day doing whatever you pleased, when this is not the norm!
Now the young men that are under the age of 21 might use this holiday to work....you see, until a man is 21 or married, any money he earns by working goes to his family finances, but on certain holidays, including New Year's Day, a young man can work and keep the money for himself! You can see how this might encourage a young man to find some work to do on holidays!
Many Amish families have just butchered hogs, and will enjoy a special meal of pork and kraut for a holiday meal. A good friend of ours looks forward to getting together with the men of his family and spending the day rabbit hunting. Then they all come together to enjoy a feast of roasted rabbit with gravy.
We all look forward to our traditions, and if you don't have any of your own, I encourage you to start one today! Find something that you and your family enjoy and make the best of today and the rest of 2021! Blessing to all, and Happy New Year from all of us at the Amish Trading Post!