CAPTION: This is a door to an Amish home in the Conewango Valley of New York where doors are typically blue, but they aren't blue in every Amish settlement. Just a matter of local tradition.
By Kevin Williams
Betty asked me a question about why the Amish paint their doors blue?
Good question, Betty. My answer: they don't all paint their doors blue. In fact, only in certain areas do they do this and I once asked an Amish woman why, hoping for some answer rich in history and tradition. But she just sort of shrugged and said "tradition." And I believe that is likely the case. We "English" try to ascribe all sorts of meaning to Amish traditions: the curtains in an Amish home are tied a certain way it means they have a single daughter, celery on a wedding table symbolizes fertility, a blue door is a courting ritual.
"Well, how do you get that exact same blue color for all the doors," I asked.
"We just take some to the hardware store and they do a color match," the woman said matter-of-factly.
I've asked many Amish in many places about the significance of this or that tradition and am often met with the same shrug type answer. Made customs are just tradition and their original meaning, if they ever had any, have been lost to time. Some Amish traditions may have had meaning originally, like I've heard a plausible reason explaining why the Amish of Berne, Indiana have open carriages, such that early on a covered carriage seemed very "aristocratic", but that meaning doesn't resonate with Amish today. So, yes, most of these quirky traditions are just that: traditions.
Sorry for the unexciting answer.
There may be a different answer to the blue paint as I learned when visiting in Louisiana and Texas. The natives tend to paint their porch ceilings blue and sometimes the door as well. The theory offered was that insects , especially wasps, thin it is sky and do not attempt to make wasp nests in the corners nor fly through the door. I have no idea if this works or is folklore.
I no longer get a newspaper and I do miss it. I not only read it thoroughly , especially the Sunday papers, but I used the paper for wrapping glassware against chipping., wrapping peelings for the garbage can, drop clothes for cleaning and painting, washing windows, packing boxes. I think people were more frugal years ago. Use it up and make do.
Nana, very, very interesting about the blue door-wasp theory. See, that is exactly what I was talking about in that there may well have been a reason years ago for the start of the tradition, but the reason has been lost over the generations...