A Window into Amish Culture
By Annee Jones
Have you ever read Amish fiction? I’m a fan of this genre myself because I appreciate sweet love stories with traditional values and underlying biblical themes. I also enjoy learning about the history and culture of the Amish community.
My newest upcoming release, Getting Hitched in Pumpkin, is set in the fictional town of Pumpkin City, Pennsylvania about an hour from the real city of Lancaster where the oldest and largest Amish community in the United States is located. In honor of their culture, I’ve included a few Amish characters in my novel.
I’d like to provide you with a brief look at the history, beliefs, and customs of the Amish.
During the time of the Reformation in the 16th century in Europe, the Anabaptist movement spurred the creation of three "plain" communities: the Amish, Mennonites and Brethren. All three groups share the Anabaptist belief that calls for making a conscious choice to accept God. Therefore, only adults can be baptized. The groups also share the same basic values including the all-encompassing authority of the Bible, brotherhood, and non-violence. Worship services are held within private homes instead of church buildings.
Although these spiritual groups have similarities, the Amish are the most conservative, emphasizing humility, family, community, and separation from the non-Amish world, which includes a reluctance to adopt modern conveniences such as electricity, cars, or computers.
The Pennsylvania Amish believe that community harmony is threatened by secular values such as individualism and pride - which, as we know, are pervasive in today’s modern American society. Thus, the Amish don’t interact much with outsiders and prohibit habits they believe encourage sin as displayed through their plain style of dress and prohibition of personal photographs.
If you visit this part of Pennsylvania, you may see the horse-drawn buggies of the Amish traveling down country roads. Men wear dark-colored suits, straight-cut coats with no lapels, broadfall trousers, suspenders, solid-colored shirts, black socks and shoes, and black or straw broad-brimmed hats. Men do not wear mustaches and generally wait until after marriage to grow beards.
Amish women wear modest, solid-colored dresses, with long sleeves and a full skirt, and a white apron. Clothing is fastened with straight pins or snaps. They do not ever cut their hair, which is worn in a bun on the back of the head and concealed by a prayer covering called a “kapp.” It is considered improper for women to let men view their hair other than one’s own husband. Women are also not permitted to wear jewelry or makeup.
The Amish speak a language called Pennsylvania Dietsch (or Dutch), which is a German dialect.
Here is a short glossary of Amish words and their meanings:
Ach – oh
Ach jah – oh yes
Aemen - amen
Aendi – aunt
Appeditlich – delicious
Boppli – babies
Bruder - brother
Buwe – boy
Dat – dad
Dawdi - grandfather
Denki – thank you
Englisch/ Englischer – non-Amish person
Fater – father
Fraa – wife
Gaarda – garden
gmay (lowercase) – Amish community who worship together
Gmay – Amish worship serves
Gott – God (alternate spelling: Gotte)
Gott segen eich – God bless you
Grossdochder – granddaughter
Gut – good (alternate spellings: gude, guder)
Gut daag – good day
Guder mariye – good morning
Haus - house
Jah – yes
Kapp – head-covering worn by Amish females
Kinder – children
Lieb – love
Liebling / liebchen – darling, term of endearment
Maedel – girl
Mamm – mom (alternate spellings: maem, maam)
Mammi and/or grossmammi – grandma / grandmother
Mann – husband
Mater – mother (alternate spelling: mudder)
Mei – my
Nae – no (alternate spelling: nay)
Naerfich – nervous
Narrish – crazy
Nochber – neighbor
Oll recht – all right
Oncle – uncle
Ordnung – the written and unwritten rules of the Amish; the understood behavior by which the Amish are expected to live, passed down from generation to generation.
Pennsylvania Deitsch – Pennsylvania German, the language most commonly used by the Amish
Schwester – sister
Sohn – son
Wunderbaar – wonderful (alternate spellings: wunderbar, wunderlich)
Willkumme – welcome
Wie bischt? – How are you?
Getting Hitched In Pumpkin will be released on January 30, 2022 and is available for pre-order now. Paperback and Large-print paperback versions will also be available shortly.
Annee Jones is a heartwarming romance and soon-to-be cozy mystery author who enjoys sharing her heart and imagination with others. She is passionate about writing stories that offer readers a place where dreams come true!
Professionally, Annee works as a disability counselor where she helps her clients navigate through complex medical and legal systems while rediscovering their wholeness in Spirit.
Annee also enjoys freelance writing for Publishers Weekly and multiple publishing companies.
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