Ascension Day in Amish Country

Tomorrow, May 5, is Ascension Day, also known as Ascension Thursday or the Feast of the Ascension.

Farm work such as plowing would never be done on Ascension Day. The Amish faithfully refrain from working on this religious holiday.

Traditionally celebrated since ancient times as the day Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, it is observed on a Thursday, the 40th day after Easter Sunday. In some Christian traditions, this day is viewed as a “holy day of obligation,”  although not many actually close businesses or refrain from working on that day.

However, here in Ohio’s Amish country, the Amish still faithfully celebrate Ascension Day.  Amish-owned businesses are closed and Amish employees of non-Amish businesses do not go to work. Amish churches hold formal services in the morning, and the afternoon is reserved for reflection, relaxation, visiting, and large meals with extended family and friends.

“Ascension Day is a holiday that most Amish are pretty staunch about,” said Sharon Hershberger, a longtime Lehman’s employee with Amish background. “Some churches have certain things they do at church only on that day, and most (Amish) are very strict about observing this holiday.”

So tomorrow, all of Lehman’s Amish employees are granted the day off, and no livestock auction will be held in Kidron. (Lehman’s store will be open regular hours, albeit without our Amish employees.)

Whatever our religious inclinations, we can all learn from and appreciate the Amish community’s deep dedication to faith, family and tradition.