By Olivia Zook
It’s no secret the Amish live differently than the rest of the modern world; you can see it in their plain attire, and technology-free lifestyle. You might be surprised to learn, however, that Amish people love to have a good time!
Yes, you read that right– the Amish do have fun! We put together a list of a few of their pastimes and hobbies for you. On your next visit to Amish Country, be sure to keep an eye out for our Amish friends enjoying some of these activities!
Amish people are not allowed to join competitive sports leagues, but that does not stop them from enjoying many types of athletics in their spare time. Although the Amish enjoy sports including softball, ice hockey, and more, volleyball is far and away the most popular sport among the Amish. This game is even referred to as the “national pastime” of the Amish.* Played in the sand or grass, volleyball is a versatile and fun sport that the Amish have enjoyed for generations.
Crafts and Creations
As well as for their simple lifestyle, the Amish are also renowned for their skillful craftsmanship. From quilts to cabinets, Amish goods are characteristically high-quality. Amish women use their craft skills to create clothes and bedding, but their expertise with the sewing machine, the knitting needles, and the embroidery floss goes far beyond the practical. On the walls of many Amish homes, you will spot gorgeous wall hangings and family logs outlined by intricate embroidery. Men will create beautiful wooden furniture and trinkets for fun, as well as income.
If you are interested in Amish craftsmanship, make sure to stop by our farm to pick out an authentic and high-quality Lancaster souvenir! Get a glimpse of the wide expanse and high quality of Amish goods by browsing our gift shop, which contains dozens of handcrafted Amish goods. You can also visit our Amish friend, Rachel, who makes dolls and other crafts a few days a week on our farm.
The Amish community defies an individualistic culture. Amish people believe that humans were created to live in community with God and with one another. This emphasis on community naturally leads to lots of time spent in fellowship! Sunday gatherings are the perfect example of this emphasis. Although the Amish community meets every other Sunday for a church service, every Sunday is a day of rest and fellowship. On these rest days, Amish families will join together to spend most of the day together. Amish youth often gather into the evening hours to sing and play volleyball. Our Amish friends will not be watching football like many English (non-Amish) families do on a Sunday afternoon, but they will be enjoying their time together nonetheless!
The Natural World
Many members of the Amish community also enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. On hot summer days, if you are driving on the country roads, you might spot some Amish children lugging their fishing supplies to a farm stream. Gardening, hunting, and fishing are all doubly enjoyable pastimes for Amish men, women, and children as they not only provide food for their families, but they also allow for a deepening connection with nature and with the God who they believe is present in it.
Just like the English, Amish people choose unique hobbies to pursue. Some Amish people frequent the public libraries of Lancaster, selecting inspirational fiction novels to fill their quiet hours. Others prefer to write or draw. Many enjoy puzzles and board games. These hot summer days provide ample opportunities for swimming in creeks and ponds. When those same ponds freeze over in four or five months, they provide a surface for ice skating that many young Amish people will enjoy.
The Amish community is a vibrant one, colored by diverse interests, talents, and personalities. Want to learn and see more? We hope you will visit us here at The Amish Farm and House sometime soon! Our house tour, bus tour, farm visit, and special seasonal tours like the Amish Christmas Cookie Tour are all excellent choices to learn more about the Amish way of life, and our experienced tour guides are happy to answer any questions you may have about Amish hobbies or anything else. Maybe your visit will inspire you to pick up a new hobby yourself!
*Steven M. Nolt, The Amish, pp. 59.