Amish Valentine's Day Gift Guide
Living Yielded to God
Just to avoid confusion, there is no such thing as an Amish Valentine's Day. The Amish do not celebrate Valentine's Day.
When you see something described as Amish, chances are that it isn't. More likely, it is an English, the Amish word for anyone who is not Amish, trying to make a living. Nevertheless, this is an attempt to imagine what an Amish Valentine's Day would look like.
The Amish take the Bible, literally the Word of God, very seriously. Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 13:34). Therefore, in a way every day is "Valentine's Day." Love rules every day.
The Amish express God's love in every thing they do, everyday living through words and deeds and, yes, through gifts, but a different kind of gifts.
Separation From the World
The Amish try really hard to insulate themselves from the world. For example, they call themselves "our people" and refer to everyone else as "English." They see the world as two separate kingdoms, God's and the rest. They're as opposite as good and evil, light and dark. There is no straddling the fence. Either you're in or you're out. Once you have made the decision to join the church, it is usually for life.
As hard as they try, worldly items do occasionally creep into their culture. An Amish woman has been observed baking heart shaped donuts on Valentine's Day.
Expressions of Love
The one Amish gift that impressed me the most was a plain old matchbox I found at an Amish farmstand except it was no ordinary matchbox. This one had been intricately decorated and contained nothing but love.
The Amish are well known for their quilts, but also for other craft items. They do not decorate their homes with photographs or pictures like we do. Decorations are generally considered worldly and a way for pride to invade their hearts. There is nothing wrong with making the useful tools of everyday living look pretty, though. The keyword is useful. If it's not useful, then you don't really need it at all.
The Amish are also prolific writers, but never publish any books. Most writing is no doubt contained in private diaries. Other writings are published in the form of letters or poems in their English language newspapers, The Budget and Die Botschaft. They are a way for distant communities to keep in touch with one another.
The Non-Amish Valentine's Day
With all that in mind, anyone who is fascinated by Amish culture will want to find expressions of love their way. In the following I have tried to do so out of love for Amish culture. I hope I have been able to treat their culture with the respect it deserves.
Arts, Crafts and Sewing
The Amish are well known for their crafts, quilts and woodwork in partiular.
When I say Amish fiction, I don't mean fiction written by Amish authors. Not that it doesn't exist. It probably does, but it is unlikely to have been published.
Luckily, many other authors with great love and respect for Amish culture have provided us with some really beautiful pieces. I hope you'll find something to give your sweetheart.
This is as close as you'll ever get to old order Amish culture. Participating in a documentary like this one is almost guaranteed to get you excommunicated and shunned.