Friday, December 20, 2013

Swartzentruber Amish Pt. 2

Probably, the easiest way to tell a Swartzentruber Amish person, is by their appearance.  The men all have untrimmed beards and a 'dutchboy' haircut.  That is essentially a long 'bowl haircut' with the face cut out and bangs.  Swartzentruber men only wear royal blue long sleeve shirts for everyday and white for dress.  They usually wear a jean vest also.  Swartzentrubers only use straight weave cotton cloth, no knits or polyester for clothing.  They also don't use any elastic in their clothing.   This eliminates many things that the rest of us consider essential.  They always wear black boots, but  they don't always buy black boots.  If another color boot is on sale they will purchase that color and black leather dye and voila you have black boots.  Thriftiness is such a big part of their culture.  They wear amish cut jeans with triple weave material, unless they are going to a wedding, funeral, or church and then they wear black.  The Swartzentruber  men wear broader brimmed hats than other amish men, but this is a pretty subtle distinction unless you are around the amish a lot.

Swartzentruber ladies wear dark color dresses, either navy, forest green, deep maroon, or black.  They wear black high topped boots and knee socks.  Their cap has many tiny pleats.  They put them in with starch.  They have to redo it every time they wash them, I have watched them and it is a very tedious chore.  The women all use royal blue strings that they make to put up their hair.  It is amazing to watch them do it.  They tie it up rather than using lots of pins.  They wear black capes rather than coats in the winter.  When they are out in public, they wear a hard black shell cap over their white cap.  It has deep sides so that you can hardly see their face.  They carry black bags with handles that they make themselves.  They usually have baby stuff and snacks in there.

Swartzentruber field

Swartzentruber children dress very much like like their parents.  They wear black high top shoes and outfits like Mom or Dad.  The girls dresses are simpler than their mom's.  They are like little gowns.  Boys have suspender straps on their pants.  The Swartzentruber's (children and adults) go barefoot most of the year, unless it is cold and they are outside.  ALL Swartzentruber babies wear dresses, whether they are boys or girls.  Little boys don't move into pants until they are potty-trained.  So don't assume the little one toddling around in a dress is a little girl.  Swartzentruber children spend most of their time helping their parents with work around the farm.  Little boys follow after Dad and little girls help their mother.  They are not allowed to have bicycles or other riding toys with wheels.

Swartzentruber house
Swartzentruber Mom's keep their babies well swaddled.  They make all their own baby clothes.  The little ones wear long sleeve t-shirts, and a dress.  They are not allowed to put pampers or pre-folded cloth diapers on their baby unless they are going to a doctor's appointment or to an english house.  At home they wear a flannel single layer diaper without any plastic covering.  When a child wets the diaper it does run through on whoever is holding them or on the floor.  Diapers do get changed frequently!  When they are going out with their new babies they wrap them in a thick black wrap and put a black hard shell bonnet on them, with a black gauze over their face.  They almost always will have a pacifier pinned to their babies outfit.  All the baby clothes are also made of straight weave material.  No soft cotton knits allowed. For a baby toy, they string little plastic beads on an elastic string shaped like a necklace.  This is a common baby gift.

NOT Swartzentruber Horses
Now, you should be able to look at an Amish family and tell whether they are Swartzentruber or not.  Amish, except for the new, new order, don't want pictures taken of themselves.  I try to respect that,  so I am not able to show you photos of them.  I hope you are able to picture in your mind what I am talking about.

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