The Colors of the Amish (part 2)
When it comes to the more mundane aspects of Amish life, such as the colors that each community is allowed to use for a variety of different reasons, the Ordnung is referred to. While it might seem ridiculous to non-Amish members that a church leader or rule book should decide what colors they can wear, it is very serious business to the Amish. The way the Amish dress is meant to symbolize their devotion to God and the simple and plain ways of life. This is why all Amish communities dress in clothes that are mostly black or dark in color. Black symbolizes their devotion to God and is seen as being an expression of their joyfulness at being the chosen people. The men are required to wear dark colored pants, vests, and jackets when necessary. The women are required to wear a dark colored one-piece dress that is usually no shorter than eight inches from the ground (depending on their local Ordnung regulations), as well has a head covering at all times. However, touches of color are allowed to show through in some small ways. Shirts and blouses are often pastel in nature or of the darker color schemes, such as blue, green, and purple. Some Amish groups are even allowed to wear bright and vibrant colors, as long as the dominant color remains black.
Nowhere is this color rule more important than when it comes to creating the beautiful Amish quilts. Greatly considered the only outlet for an Amish woman to express her artistic creativity, the Amish quilt seems to go against the basic beliefs of the Amish to remain plain and simple. Upon further investigation, however, you can see that the Amish quilt is most often an extension of their strict beliefs in tradition and modesty. The traditional Amish quilt is always dark in color and usually only uses fabrics from the darker parts of the color wheel, such as the greens, blues, purples, and reds. Yellow and orange colors are considered by most Amish communities as being too flashy and are rarely used in any way throughout the community. In fact, if you've ever been to an Amish community, you'll notice that their black buggies have a bright orange yield sign on the back of them. This was something that was imposed onto the Amish by the government that said the buggies needed to be visible to cars at night for the safety of both drivers. Many communities fought the use of the brightly colored signs due to their religious beliefs that prohibit the use of orange or brighter colors.
The colors that are used inside the home are also laid out by the community's Ordnung. The walls inside the home must be painted a solid white color. The woodwork inside the home must be painted a dark color. Dark grey or dark blue are often found inside Amish homes as accent colors. The window coverings must remain either dark blue or black according to the Ordnung. There are little or no decorations allowed inside the Amish home and everything from the bed sheets to the plates to the silverware are regulated by the rules of each particular Amish community's Ordnung rules.
As you can see, something as simple as the color shirt you wear or the color you paint your walls inside your home are strictly governed by the leaders of the Amish church. The purpose of these restrictive and overly controlling guidelines is to keep the Amish people focused on what their basic principles as a people and a religion are. The focus is meant to be on God and anything that might distract them from the main purpose is not allowed to exist. While it seems to be a difficult life to the outsider, their beliefs and traditions have lasted for centuries and don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
The Colors of the Amish (part 1)