|Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.
Richard asked me to write about our New Year’s but we don’t do anything special for New Years Day. We don’t have parties or make wishes or anything like that on New Years Day. When New Years Day comes we just change the calendars and start using 2012. As New Years is on Sunday, we will observe Sunday, but nothing special. If it were a week day, the school Susan goes to would be having a regular school day.
So instead of New Years Day, I thought I would tell you about Old Christmas which is on January 6th, the Epiphany.. Susan’s school is closed that day and we will be taking Michael out of the public school that same day even though his school is having a regular day. Let me explain a little about what lead to the new Christmas and the old Christmas. Some of what I am telling is from memory and some from an Old Order Mennonite written book I have.
Before the time of Julius Caesar, the Roman year was based round the phases of the moon. This was hopeless, inaccurate, for many reasons, so on the advice of his astronomers, Julius started a new calendar based around the sun. By the 16th century this calendar was ten days off. Pope Gregory XIII cut the eleven minutes off the length of a year and deleted the spare ten days. The new Gregorian calendar was adopted throughout Catholic Europe. The Protestants were not going to be told what day it was by the Pope, so we kept the Julian calendar. This caused problems such as when London was a full ten days ahead of Paris.
|Mennonite church (1941)|
When England came around to adopting the Gregorian calendar, in the middle eighteenth century, England was eleven days ahead of the Continent. When the Gregorian calendar was accepted Christmas moved from January 6th to December 25th. Christmas on January 6th dates back to about 354 AD and still goes on today. When the Mennonites and Amish came to this country they celebrated Christmas January 6th. We do celebrate December 25th, but, to us, January 6th is the most religious Christmas, Old Christmas.
After dinner on January 5th we adults fast until dinner on January 6th. We don’t do any chores on this day except what we have to do. On January 6th, after breakfast, we attend meeting (church). After meeting we are going to David’s parents for dinner. Along with David’s family, my family will also be there. When dinner is over we will spend the afternoon together playing games, singing hymns, and talking. We will go home around milking time. After dinner, we will go visit friends or they will come to us. If we have any Christmas presents we haven’t delivered to friends or family-we take them in our buggy. Before we go to bed during our prayers David reads about the three Kings coming with their gifts for Jesus from the Bible.
At present we celebrate both December 25th and January 6th as Christmas, but there has been talk of changing our Christmas to one Christmas on January 6th. We do not buy Christmas Gifts for January 6th, but like I said if we have some we haven’t delivered we do that. I know some Mennonite groups have their Christmas presents on January 6th, but we don’t.
David’s parents and my grandparents are in their new homes, we went over to see them. It is really nice, but both houses need a little work done. David and his parents were going through the house on the changes they would like. Then over at my grandparents, again David was told what needed to be done there. David, his Dad, my Dad, Grand dad, and Michael will be working on it throughout the winter. Most of the work is painting, taking up carpeting except in the kitchens-they do need some work to modern up a little. My grandparents would like a washer and dryer put on the first floor of their house if David can find a place to put it. They would rather not have to go down into the basement to do washing as it is hard on their knees.
Their bedroom is upstairs, but there is a bathroom both up and down so they only have to up the stairs once a day-to go to bed at night. David and his Dad are trying to see if they can add on the to the house a first floor bedroom for my grandparents. It may be next year for the addition as there are lots of things they want to do this year. We like this as my grandparents have their home, but yet someone is there to check on them or give them a hand when needed. My grandparents didn’t want to move in with any of us. They want to be on their own. The property that David’s parents bought with the two houses, seems to be great for everyone.
Wish you all a Happy New Year and a Merry Old Christmas.
Be With God, Jean
My Dad is diabetic and Mom had to change the recipes for Dad. So here are a couple of the recipes she changed. Dad did not know it until she gave me the recipes. He was in shock because she hadn’t told him. Mom said you wouldn’t have eatten it if I told you-so I didn’t tell you. She said he never asked so she never told. Mom and I would like to share them with you. We do suggest that you check these diabetic recipes with your doctor. I make these recipes when I know my Dad is coming to our house-I have never had complaints from diabetics or non-diabetics. Jean
Apple Pie (Diabetic)
5 c. Peeled, sliced apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 pkgs. Sweet ‘n Low Sweetner ( or Splenda
Dot with margarine (or butter)
Mix all ingredients. Pour into 2 crust pie shell and bake until done, about 1 hour. Enjoy. Jean
|Jean’s post will be moving to Mondays starting on January 9 folks. Recipe of the week for Wednesday will be from Amish fiction author Wanda Brunstetter.|