Through the research I’ve done over the years for my novels I found that 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, a black bonnet might hide their covering.
When I attended a church service at my Amish friend’s house in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago, 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 that 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.
I’ve also found that Amish women and girls don’t always wear their prayer coverings. Sometimes, they wear bandannas 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 that was 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 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 bandanna 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, and 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.
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. Her latest release is A Simple Prayer.
Purchase Amy’s books here.