How I Celebrated Easter and Good Friday as an Amish American Child

Torah Bontrager
6 min readApr 14, 2021

Easter was the only time of year that I was allowed to have shredded wheat. While the adults went hungry all morning, I crushed big pillow-shaped bales into my stainless steel bowl.

If you’d like to know how to celebrate the Easter holiday the Amish way, I share my practicing Amish experiences of various aspects, from the Easter bunny to Easter egg hunts to church services, below.

(Click here for the video version of this post.)

Good Friday

The Amish Easter tradition celebrates Good Friday (as the story goes, the day that Jesus was crucified) with a fast all morning, reading the Bible, and praying. But the fasting, Bible reading, and praying is only required of baptized members, not unbaptized children and teens. As soon as the clock passes the noon mark, the fast is over. I have vivid memories of my birth parents talking about how hungry they were and eyeing the clock all morning to see when they’d be allowed to eat again. I dreaded the thought of ever having to be forced to wake up with an empty stomach and go until noon with no food lest I’d end up in hell for breaking that Amish religious law.

I much preferred keeping our particular family tradition for unbaptized members on Good Friday and Easter Sunday mornings. That was eating shredded wheat. Even as I’m writing this, I can feel the crunchy texture of the wheat bales on the outside and the softer strings on the inside when I crushed the bale into my stainless steel bowl. Easter was the only time of year that we kids were allowed to have shredded wheat. The rest of the year we had cornflakes, the cheapest store-bought cereal at the time, and homemade grape-nuts or granola.

Good Friday was the only religiously mandated non-Sunday day off of the year besides Christmas. There was no school and no work (except for feeding the animals and milking the cows or goats). It’s possible that some Amish communities also celebrate the Monday after Easter; I have to fact check this but all I remember is Friday and Sunday as the days required to observe the resurrection story.

Easter Bunny

When I was younger, my birth mother would sing the song, “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”, during Easter. But…

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Torah Bontrager

Amish escapee & Columbia University alumna. For the right of Amish kids to go to school. Get chapters of my book Amish Girl in Manhattan @ TorahBontrager.com