Lancaster County Prayer Coverings and Colorful Dresses

Did you know different Amish communities have different prayer coverings? The prayer coverings the women wear in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, are heart-shaped in the back. You won’t see prayer coverings like this in Indiana or Ohio. The prayer coverings are more circular shaped in those states. When you see Amish women out in public, they normally wear white prayer coverings. When it’s cold, you may see a black bonnet over their prayer covering.

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When I attended a church service at my Amish friend’s house in Pennsylvania, I was surprised to see her daughter and other teenage girls wearing black prayer coverings instead of the usual white. I asked her daughter why they were wearing black coverings, and she explained it was tradition for her church district. She told me that many years ago, the young women would arrive at church on horseback, and their coverings would turn black from the ride. As a tradition, the teenagers often wear black prayer coverings to church. Isn’t that an interesting tradition for her community to keep?

I’ve also found that Amish women and girls don’t always wear their prayer coverings. Sometimes, they wear bandanas or kerchiefs instead. When I first met my Amish friend, we sat in her kitchen for two hours and talked. I was surprised she was wearing a kerchief on her head and tied under her chin. She was also wearing a black button-down sweater over a black dress. I had expected to see her in the usual plain dress and bib apron I had seen in books and on the Internet.

I didn’t have the opportunity to see my friend wearing the regular prayer covering and dress until my editor and I took her out to eat at a restaurant the second time I met her. She was wearing a beautiful purple dress made out of special material she’d been given as a gift. She looked lovely in her special dress and prayer covering. It was then that I realized the traditional prayer covering is worn during special occasions and church. When they are working at home, Amish women may wear something like a kerchief.

When I took my Amish friend and her sons to spend the day at a lake in Maryland, she stowed her prayer covering in a large Tupperware container she left under the seat in the van and wore a bandana when she wasn’t swimming.

I learned more about Amish dresses when I attended the service at my friend’s house. I was surprised to see the young ladies in bright colors. I spotted bright pink, teal, and purple. I always believed the young women wore the same darker colors that their mothers and grandmothers wore. Another Amish woman explained that women wear brighter colors until approximately ten years after they’re married. After ten years of marriage, they wear the darker blues, purples, reds, and greens.

Young women also wear white capes and aprons to church. I was struck by how beautiful the light pink dresses looked with the white lace capes and aprons. Pink has always been my favorite color, so I was drawn to the pink Amish style dresses.

I’m fascinated by how the Amish women dress. I hope you found this information interesting, too!

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Amy Clipston (20 Posts)

Amy Clipston is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery novels. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and currently works for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina. Amy lives with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.


Comments

  1. kakkilea says:

    Thank you for the wonderful and interesting post! Do you know where I can purchase an amish Prayer covering? I appreciate any information you can give me.

  2. Great post…thanks for sharing…..blessings

  3. This was very interesting thanks for telling us this. Love
    reading about the Amish. Hoping to get one of thieir quilted
    pot holders some day. God bless, Patti in VA

  4. Donna Harmon says:

    Really enjoyed this and learned a few new things. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jim N Terri Harrison says:

    We purchased our granddaughter’s Prayer Covering just North of Intercourse, PA at Ridgeview Book Store, 3733 Ridge Road, Gordonville, PA 17529,(717) 768-7484. They are available in various sizes. They are not on display and are stored upstairs. Our granddaughter has her complete Amish outfit that she wears when she spends a week with our Amish friends in Paradise, PA. The article above very accurately describes the way our Amish friends dress.

  6. I have worn a headcovering in public full time since I was 12 years old. I am not Amish, but grew up in the culture of Mennonites, Amish and the like. It is funny how you forget that not everyone knows all about it sometimes when you are comfortable with it. I have heard many people call some of the more conservative Anabaptist groups everything from “frumpy” to “backwards”, so this article was very refreshing. Many people do not realize that they all have their own style, and what is fashionable as well!
    Interesting fact though….if you have ever worn a stiff Amish cap, you will quickly understand why they switch to the acrylic scarves when choring, working in the house etc. Not only are they very time consuming to keep starched, you bump them and they are crunched and you look badly very quickly. Acrylic scarves are soft, warm and comfortable!

  7. Rose in Ohio says:

    Can these light color amish dresses be purchased somewhere or does any one know of an amish lady that would sew/sell the dresses?

    • Most Amish women sew their own dresses and in the case of my grandmother who was “Conservative Mennonite”, her dress was held togethet by pins, no buttons allowed. Too worldly.

  8. Karen Smith says:

    Thank you sio much for this information I really enjoyed reading hope to see more. Karen

  9. Melissa L. says:

    Very interesting article. I enjoyed the information. I have always wondered about the women’s clothing.

  10. Love reading about the Amish -thanks

  11. Karen Fraim 1-570-666-0583 says:

    I’m looking for a black heart shaped head covering,adult.

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