The Amish community is strong, even though they're very busy people working long hours. They incorporate work with fellowship. Work frolics are popular. Work and frolic don't seem to fit together .It's like saying "work festival". But this is how they kill two birds with one stone. They combine work with fun. For example, if a family builds a new house and the inside needs painted, they get together and paint and have fun talking as they work.
Amish barn raisings are the most commonly known work frolic, but there are many others. Canning, quilting, shelling peas....it's endless really. Anything that can be done together to make the burden lighter and to have fun can be made into a frolic.
I visited an Amish friend last week and saw something very unique. A group of ten men were cutting ice blocks from a pond and hauling them to the icehouse on a huge wagon, pulled by draft horses. They paused to talk, laugh and sing. Yes, sing. The Amish sing when they work. When they replaced the roof on our house they were up there singing in German. It was awesome to listen to them.
Besides work frolics, the Amish make holidays. One I'd like to see in the English world is "Sister Day". I have two sisters and our relationships need to be celebrated. We do on birthdays etc., but to have one day a year to really reflect on what sisterhood really means and to plan how to strengthen our ties would be awesome.
The Amish also have two Christmas dates: Dec. 25th and Jan. 6th. Their ancestors celebrated Christmas on January 6th in Germany, so they celebrate it twice. They don't buy expensive presents, but have a feast similar to our Thanksgiving meal.
In our busy world, we could learn from the Amish and either have work frolics or special holidays.. My garden is always too big, so instead of trying to pick all the produce ourselves, we invite family and friends over at harvest time. Something my daughters and I started was 'Girls only Weekend." My husband and son created "Guys only weekend." My sister's having a Christmas party in May! I love it.
The Amish are the considered the happiest people in America. http://nihcl.com/html/tips/2010/July-7.html I believe our fast paced culture has put relationships on the backburner, and people in fellowship takes away the feeling of being alone. If you have an idea for a "work frolic" or "special holiday", I'd love to hear from you.
Karen Anna Vogel