Welcome to In My Own Backyard!
For those of you familiar with Canada, especially Ontario, you will be familiar with the multitude of various cultures which now call Ontario home. But, did you know that in a quiet little town just north of one of Ontario’s largest cities, Kitchener-Waterloo, there remains to this day a large congregation of Old Order Mennonites?
Old Order Mennonites – A Bit of History
Old Order Mennonites are those Mennonites of Swiss German and North German heritage. Despite technological progress, they have maintained their simple life-style and do not have televisions, computers, and many still don’t drive vehicles. It will be easy for you to identify an Old Order Mennonite by his or her simple dress.
Old Order Mennonite Female Dress Code
The Old Order Mennonite women continue to wear dress modestly in a long ankle-length dress which is made of sturdy, plain material and an apron over their dress. Her long hair will traditionally be tied up in a bun with a bonnet covering her head.
Old Order Mennonite Male Dress Code
You will typically see the Old Order Mennonite men dressed in dark trousers, a plaid buttoned shirt and a straw hat.
Why Do the Old Order Mennnonite’s Dress This Way?
There are several reasons why the Old Mennonite’s dress the way that they do:
- It distinguishes them from other religious groups. It is a badge of membership;
- It is meant to show their modest ways;
- It shows that at they are ready to work and the dress shows the woman’s place in the household.
Old Order Mennonites In My Own Backyard
The Old Order Mennonites in my neck of the woods immigrated to Ontario in the 1850’s from Pennsylvania and settled in the area where they still are today, although they have recently begun to expand into other areas of Ontario and Canada’s East Coast for the farmland.
The lifestyle and culture of the Old Order Mennonites, seeing them ride their horse and buggies as their primary means of transportation, watching them plow their fields with the horses, seeing the children playing or riding their bikes in their traditional clothing, and the beauty of their farms, has continued to fascinate to this day. In many ways, I envy them their simple lifestyle.
PRO TIP: Stop at the little hut at the end of their driveway to purchase some flowers or home-grown fruit and vegetables
I’m off to see what else I can find In My Own Backyard. Until next week…….