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The Amish, by A.M. Aurand, [1938], at


Burials.—If the plain people are as brief with the preparation of the bodies of deceased members, as are the Jews, then funerals, or at least the preparation of the body is not difficult, nor long delayed.

Jews are known to keep their hats on in their synagogue, and when they marry; even the writer remembers just a few years ago, of a fairly advanced community, among the Reformed and Lutheran persuasions, wherein it formerly was the custom for the men to keep their hat on in church during funeral services, so long as they were one of the relatives, or chief mourners—others removed their's.

If this was a custom in the average German-settled community, it is pretty safe to assume that it is still more or less universal with the plain people.

The Amish do not hang crepes at the doors of the deceased; no flowers surround the coffin although the corpse may, on occasion, he seen in a coffin sparingly lined, or with head resting on pillow. The more progressive may allow handles on the coffins.

Services for the deceased may last for two or three hours, and be attended by one to three preachers.

The coffin may be taken to the grave-yard in a rough two-horse wagon, braced and held up some-times by bags of grain.

In Amish grave-yards are found small markers, at each grave, possibly 12x3x3—all nearly alike, severely plain, containing usually only the name, date of birth, and date of death—no eulogies, and apologies!

p. 23

Pow-Wowing or Faith-Healing.—There are those who profess to know, and who stoutly declare that there are no "Pow Wowers" among the Amish and the Mennonites. We do not know definitely that there are any of the so-called "hex doctors," or the "quack doctor" variety. Appearances are deceptive, and we can only readily suspect that necessity is the mother of invention among them, as with other people.

Their heritage is such that, coming from the Old World with all the ideas they possessed, and with frugality and economy as their watchword, they would supply the same mental and physical corrective measures that other peoples do throughout the world—they would "lay on hands, anoint with oil, and pray;" they would sympathize with the sick, and that, dear reader, is the trite spirit, if not the manner, for "pow-wowing." There are other methods for curing the sick, but the one mentioned will "take" as quickly as will the prayers by any priest or clergyman; and with these people as quickly as through the use of sugar-coated pills.

Superstitions. We naturally want to feel that there is superstition among these people—although they might deny it. Theoretically they are right, for they reason all things from the Old Testament—and if they find any authority there, or in the New, for what they do—can there be any "superstition?"

But on the other hand, we do lots of things which are founded likewise on the same sources, and to say that we are not superstitious would really make us look like "liars." The whole structure is based on what we mean by "superstition."

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