This weekend we go through the wacky ritual of changing billions of clocks by springing forward one-hour to what is known as "daylight saving time" (not "daylight savings"). I like having the light later into the evening, but I don't like losing an hour of sleep. But what will the Amish do this weekend? Do the Amish change their clocks?
The answer is as varied and complex as the Amish. Many of the most conservative Amish do not observe Daylight Saving Time (DST) at all. The Amish follow a traditional way of life that emphasizes simplicity and separation from the modern world, and many do not wish to participate in practices that they view as unnecessary or disruptive to their way of life, like switching clocks. So there!
While DST is observed by most of the United States and many other countries around the world, it is not observed among some Amish populations in parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. This means that the time in these areas remains the same throughout the year and does not change when DST begins or ends. But it can get confusing.
I've been to Amish communities outside of Berne, Indiana where the clock change is not observed. Yet an Amish person may need to make a doctor's appointment, so if they do that during Daylight Saving Time (March to November) then the doctor's appointment may well be at, say 1 p.m. "fast time", which would be noon on "Amish time"
Yes! There is nothing contrary to Amish religious beliefs to owning clocks of any kind, but among the most conservative Amish there's a desire to not be tethered to time so clocks are owned but perhaps not paid attention to as much as among more progressive groups.
The Amish in Adams County, Indiana often do not. Some Amish churches in Geauga County, Ohio are hold-outs. The Amish in Pontotoc, Mississippi do not.. But even the answer to this question is nuanced because there are many more Amish all over the place that simply observe "fast time" for appointments and business and "slow time" for their home life.
The decision not to observe DST is rooted in the Amish's belief that time should be based on the natural rhythms of the day rather than an artificial construct imposed by society. They believe that waking up and starting work according to the natural rhythms of the day allows them to be more in tune with nature and their surroundings.
How do the Amish view time?
Questions like this are generalizations and you'll find very varied opinions among the Amish just like you would any group, but a general guide to their view on time can put together. The Amish relationship with clocks is complicated.
Yes, most Amish do own clocks. However, their use of clocks is somewhat limited compared to the broader society. The Amish community - in general - values simplicity and humility, and their daily life revolves around a rhythm that is not dependent on clock time. Therefore, while clocks are present in Amish households and places of worship, they are not used to dictate schedules or organize activities. But they are valuable for scheduling appointments and conducting business. Time is money, but an Amish entrepreneur doesn't' necessarily need a clock to tell them that.
In fact, the Amish often eschew modern technology and gadgets, including digital clocks and watches, preferring instead to use traditional timepieces like pendulum clocks or hourglasses. These timepieces serve more as reminders of the passage of time rather than precise timekeepers. Additionally, some Amish communities use a system of community bells or horns to signal the start and end of work shifts, church services, and other important events, rather than relying on clocks.
Overall, while the Amish do own clocks, their use of them is limited and serves a more symbolic purpose than a functional one.
Sara Miller, an Amish writer in Geauga County, Ohio, belongs to a church that does switch clocks and she wrote in 2018:
"Daylight Saving Time has come. I for one wish they would keep it like it used to be – April to October would be fine."
So the question of: Do The Amish Observe Daylight Saving Time? Or Do the Amish Change their clocks is a complex one. Do the Amish change their socks? Yes! But do the Amish change their clocks? That depends on which Amish community you are in and even then it can vary from person to person!
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