How do the Amish celebrate Thanksgiving?
Thanks for writing! With Thanksgiving just a few days away, this is a great question! Can you believe that it’s here? I can’t. It seems like summer just ended.
Anyway, the Amish do recognize Thanksgiving, although it is not with as much fanfare as we do. They tend to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving. It’s a day that is set aside for giving thanks to God for all of their blessings.
The day starts with regular chores, the men taking care of barn chores while the women begin preparing for the meal which is usually held at midday, not the evening. Younger sons will help with bringing in extra chairs and folding tables while the daughters will focus on setting the table or assisting their mother.
The dinner will include a lot of the regular food that they eat for large gatherings: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pasta (egg noodles, usually), cold salads (cole slaw, pickled cabbage, chow chow), vegetables (usually canned from their own garden), and homemade dinner rolls.
During the gathering, there will be a lot of devotions and some families will sing hymns, both German from the Ausbund and English hymns. After the meal, the women will clean up while the men enjoy coffee, possibly gathering outside if the weather is suitable. The children will play and, when all of the work is done, the women will enjoy time together to talk, possibly while knitting or quilting.
One thing that surprised me about the Amish was that widowed or single women often gather together for the Thanksgiving meal. I had always thought that extended family or even neighbors would extend invitations to the people who do not have immediate family. However, that does not seem to be something that is frequently done…at least in my first-hand experience.
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Hugs and blessings,