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A blog reader recently posted the question, “Why do Amish women wear aprons?” I responded that I would post the answer when I found it. Since I didn’t grow up in an area surrounded by the Amish community, I often have to go to the sources themselves to find the answer.

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To find answers to my apron questions, I asked some Amish ladies. Here are a few of the answers I received:

  • Aprons are a part of their culture and tradition.
  • Wearing an apron is part of “Ordnung,” a German word that means rules and order. The Ordnung, many times unwritten rules that rely on practice and oral tradition, defines that women must wear a head covering and a cape and apron on their dresses. The details of color and style vary from group to group.
  • Aprons signal submission to the collective order.
  • Darker-colored aprons symbolize marriage, similar to the outward symbol of a beard on an Amish man.
  • Lighter colored-aprons might symbolize an unmarried lady.
  • Aprons tend to be a single color to reflect the importance of humility. According to the Amish, showy clothing signals pride in Amish life. The Amish strive to live humbly, and an outward manifestation of humility includes simple clothing.
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It should also be noted that wearing an apron is very practical, since it’s easier to change a dirty apron than a dress after working in the garden or baking in the kitchen.

I’m glad the question was asked; I’m equally glad the Amish women shared their answers. Their words teach a lesson to me that whether an individual is Amish or “English,” we can learn from one another. I am also reminded of the beauty of living simply, of walking humbly, and not relying on jewelry or fancy clothes to reflect my inner worth.

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