Change and Continuity in Amish Wedding Dates in the Holmes County, Ohio, Settlement


  • Henry Troyer Retired Professor, Independent Research Specialist



tradition, weddings, farming, Amish


In the past century, the Amish of Holmes County, Ohio, have experienced an enormous population increase (from continued high fertility) and a serious decline in farming (from land shortage). We wondered if their traditional pattern of weddings might also have changed. We showed that whereas weddings used to occur almost exclusively in winter months, with a peak in December, they now occur in spring, summer, and early fall, but hardly ever in December. Two developments may be responsible. Refrigeration and other technologies for preserving food are now allowed in many Amish churches, making it possible to safely preserve wedding foods in warm weather. December weddings used to interfere minimally with the busy farming season, but now with farming in serious decline, that is no longer an issue. The traditional practice of having weddings on Thursdays and to a lesser extent on Tuesdays remains almost unchanged for the past several centuries. Much work is involved in wedding preparation and in cleanup after the wedding. For that reason, it is desirable to avoid holding weddings on Saturdays and Mondays, since much Sunday work would be required.