From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mennonite and Amish Engagement Gifts

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



I was at Crofton yesterday, so I stopped at the Amish bulk food store there. The Crofton store doesn't have as wide a selection of bulk goods as at the Amish store at Guthrie. It's not bad though, and Crofton is closer for us than Guthrie.

The Amish at the Crofton store (and also at the Guthrie store) are New Order Amish. They dress plainly, but they don't drive horses and buggies. They travel around locally in tractors pulling a trailer that has been made from a pickup truck box.

Clocks in an Amish storeIn the Crofton store, an inventory of fancy clocks is displayed behind the cash register. Most of the clocks have chimes or play a song. There are a few minutes of much music and chiming in the store every hour and half hour.

The Amish (and also the Mennonites who live in our immediate neighborhood) don't wear jewelry so when a young couple gets engaged, the boy does not give the girl an engagement ring.

Instead, a young man buys his lady a practical gift. Often he'll buy a nice clock, and when they start their home, it will hang in a special place. Or, if it's a mantle clock, it will sit on a shelf of honor, perhaps with a little lace cloth to decorate the shelf. Or at least that's how it is in our neighbors' homes where I've visited.

A clock has nice symbolism. A young couple can think about spending their time together, sharing their hours. They can look forward to their new home where the clock will be used. It's also a nod to their German and Swiss heritage when they buy a nice clock to commemorate a life-event.

A few years ago, one of our "English" neighbor ladies told me about driving a local Mennonite boy and his girlfriend to choose their clock. They chose a beautiful clock, and the neighbor lady thought they seemed very happy about it.

On the web: How to Plan an Amish Wedding

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4 comments:

Pondering Pig said...

I continue to admire Prairie Bluetsem. You've become like a little country almanac, full of the peaceful domestic virtues. It's always a relaxing pleasure to drop by.

Genevieve said...

Thank you, Mr. Pig. I do try to avoid controversy here for the most part. There's plenty of it elsewhere.

Civilla said...

Got to your blog when I clicked on a picture of a garter snake on google image search! Cute blog. I am putting up a post on "Snakes in an Atheist's Grave" which should be up in a few minutes. It will be the second post down, under the one of my picture titled, "My Blog". Hope you enjoy the article. You have some pretty amazing snake stories. I'd be dead of a heart attack!

Lauren said...

We live really close to there - near the tobacco plant. I'll have to get hubby to get us a clock next time we are down there. I didn't know they used them for wedding gifts. I was looking up christian county amish stores and I found your blog! My husband's Army, so I'm always trying to find stuff for us to do before he travels.

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