Awhile ago, having just moved to Ohio from the east coast, I decided to spend New Year’s Eve with the Amish. Well, not really with the Amish but in the place where the Amish live: Amish country, the second largest tourist attraction in Ohio according to the brochures (1). The Amish don’t celebrate the new year however, nor do they celebrate Christmas on December twenty fifth. They celebrate “Old Christmas,” which is later, in January, and this seems to characterize a lot of what the Amish do: it’s not what the English do. (“English” is the adjective for the non-Amish. “Englisher” is the noun.) They’re on a different schedule.
It’s hard not to romanticize the Amish. Their food is delicious. They wear charming outfits (The bonnets! The beards! The wide-placket shirts!) and they ride around in black, horse-drawn buggies with big wagon wheels that harken back to a simpler time. That’s another thing the tourism brochures say again and again and it’s sort of true.