The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is an open-air folklife museum and research center dedicated to preserving and celebrating Pennsylvania German folk culture, history, and language in a unique educational setting at Kutztown University.

Author: Heritage Center Admin

‘s bucklich Mennli

Have you ever lost something that you know you had on hand just moments ago? Or noticed a light on that you had already turned off? Or perhaps a tried-and-true baking recipe flopped for no apparent reason? The Pennsylvania Dutch have a name for this domestic phenomenon: ‘s bucklich Mennli.

Himmelfahrt – Ascension Day: Avoidance of Sewing, Binding & Working

40 days after Easter, the Pennsylvania Dutch celebrate Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day). Although years ago shops would close throughout the Dutch Country, and most everyone took the day off for religious observation, today only the Plain Communities, the Old Order Mennonites and Amish, continue this tradition. In the Christian liturgical calendar, this day commemorates the story of Christ’s ascension into heaven, witnessed by his disciples, to whom he gave the “great commission,” instructions to spread the word of the miracles they witnessed. For this reason, Himmelfahrt was considered to be one of the holiest days of the year, aside from Good Friday (Karfreidaag), and folk cultural beliefs and traditions abounded on this particular day.

Fastnacht Day

Among previous generations of the Pennsylvania Dutch, Fasnacht Day was not only a day for eating donuts and using up the remaining fats and sugar in preparation for Lent, but also a time for looking ahead to the coming growing season, and taking stock of your readiness for preparing the land.

May 1st – Aersht Moi Daa

The first of May is by no means an official holiday among the Pennsylvania Dutch, but a number of significant folk-cultural traditions took place on this day. As the midpoint between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice, May first coincided with the visible increase of daylight and the blossoming of the earth. It is therefore small wonder that the day was associated with fertility and the blossoming of youth.