Exploring the Rich Culture and Unique Way of Life in Holmes County, Ohio
Holmes County, Ohio, is a place like no other. It is home to one of the largest Mennonite populations in the world, offering a fascinating glimpse into a unique and deeply rooted culture. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the breathtaking landscapes and enchanting communities of Holmes County, as experienced by Peter Santenello. Join us as we delve into the details of this captivating world that exists within the heart of America.
Meeting Josh: A Local Perspective
Peter Santenello is accompanied by Josh, a local Mennonite farmer, who graciously offers to guide him through the inner workings of Holmes County. Josh provides a valuable insight into the culture and beliefs of the Amish and Mennonite communities, shedding light on their parallels to the broader spectrum of society. He emphasizes that, much like on the political front, there are extreme conservatives and liberals within the Amish and Mennonite communities.
The Distinction Between Amish and Mennonite
One of the first things Peter discusses with Josh is the distinction between Amish and Mennonite. While many may think of them as two separate entities, there is actually a significant amount of overlap between the two. In fact, Josh identifies himself as part of the Beachy Amish, which falls under the Mennonite umbrella. The Beachy Amish have embraced certain modern conveniences, such as electricity and vehicles, while still adhering to traditional values and practices.
Life in Holmes County: A Glimpse into Swartzentruber Amish
As Peter and Josh explore the countryside, they encounter the Swartzentruber Amish, who adopt a more conservative way of life. These individuals live without electricity or indoor plumbing, relying solely on manual labor and adhering strictly to their religious and cultural traditions. Their homes may seem large, but they are designed to accommodate their large families rather than reflecting their wealth. Swartzentruber Amish children attend school until the eighth grade and then work on the family farm until they get married and move out.
Language and Tradition: Pennsylvania Dutch
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Amish and Mennonite culture in Holmes County is their unique language, known as Pennsylvania Dutch. This language, which is essentially a German dialect with English words mixed in, is primarily spoken within the community. It is not a written language, and the Amish and Mennonite people learn it through oral tradition rather than books. Although their church services are conducted in High German, the Bible is often read in English for the Mennonites.
The Values That Shape Mennonite and Amish Lives
Peter also discusses the values that shape the lives of the Mennonite and Amish communities. Both groups firmly believe in non-violence and avoid participating in wars and conflicts. Their commitment to living a simple and humble life is evident in their approach to modern technology. While some embrace limited technology, such as solar panels and generators, others continue to shun it altogether. Their dedication to working hard, giving back to the community, and relying on their faith is paramount.
The Role of Politics: A Different Perspective
While the majority of the Amish and Mennonite communities do not actively engage in political activities, Peter and Josh explain their rationale behind this choice. According to their beliefs, their role in society is not aligned with involvement in politics. They emphasize the importance of paying taxes and respecting the government but place their ultimate trust and leadership in Jesus Christ, who remains constant and unchanging.
Immersion in the Amish/Mennonite Lifestyle
As Peter and Josh continue their journey through Holmes County, they embrace the opportunity to experience the unique pleasures of the Mennonite and Amish lifestyle. They visit quaint Amish and Mennonite establishments, indulging in delicious homemade pies and soaking in the picturesque charm of the communities. Peter obtained a firsthand understanding of their commitment to hard work, respect for tradition, and generosity.
In conclusion, Holmes County, Ohio, is a truly remarkable place that provides a window into the Amish and Mennonite way of life. Their strong faith, unwavering dedication to their beliefs, and commitment to living in harmony with nature and each other are awe-inspiring. By exploring this hidden gem in America, Peter Santenello has allowed us to witness a world that is as captivating as it is different. The Amish and Mennonite communities of Holmes County challenge us to reflect on our own values and to celebrate the beauty of diversity in our world.