Dwelling in the secluded farm of Saint Jacob, Ontario, Canada, the Mennonite has their own life standard, social life guidelines, and or laws but without affecting the state governance. The fact is, or according to our tour guide, they are a good tax payer, but don’t accept help from the state. The Mennonite can easily be identified by their looks such as on dress code, hair and a cap or hat on their heads for both men and women.
Before you can enter on the Mennonite thousands of acres of corns, dairies, fruits, maple trees and other vegetable farm, you need to pay for a ride, to roam around their place. You will not be bored, because while riding a horse-drawn conveyance; a tour guide who was also the control of horses, will share about the beginning of the Mennonite in Canada. Lecturing the dos and don’t when you are in the vicinity, as well as reminding the visitors, to respect their ways.
According to our guide, the Mennonite was founded by a person named Menno and his wife, came from Russia and Germany in early 19th century. They are a Baptist or Christian people who live according to what the Bible says. Thus, base on my own understanding, their ways are more likely guided by the words of God. Their head covers is specifically mention in the bible, and to live in a very simple living condition,
The Mennonite is also divided into group such as non-progressive, modern and progressive Mennonite. They can be distinguished by the kind of hat on their head. The non-progressive are those with no electricity; modern are those with electricity, with horse-drawn transportation, have cellphones but just for emergency usage. The most lucky group is the progressive, where they have everything even cars but only for business and emergency.
You can never tell that Mennonite are a non-educated people. No sir, no ma’am because everyone goes to school. But because they don’t accept help from the state, they also not attended a government school. Thus, they have their own school facilities and modules. According to our Mennonite lady guide, everyone is oblige to attend school until grade 7, but after that they are asked to stay with parents and help. However, if one is qualified for a certain profession, he or she can be trained to be a teacher or doctor and other professional field, needed for their society.
Social Life, Love Life and Courtship
At first I was thinking, and even have a question in my mind about the life and love of the teenagers. But before I able to ask the lady, she already discussed the curiosity in my mind. She said that not because they have their own life standard, their teenagers are not given a chance to enjoy their youth. According to her, their teenagers are not allowed to party until they reach at age of 16. They gonna have youth camp, which is part of their religious activity, where the teens have a chance to get to know each other. Their curiosity to their opposite sex is of course with the supervision of their parents. They are however not allowed to marry someone, outside the Mennonite group. They have to know each other for three years, before they are allowed to get married. They have their own horse-drawn, which is an open type vehicle, where they could not hide themselves for a steal kisses. No way! Their horse-drawn vehicle is lovely, and make you feel like a princess, huh! When wedding is decided, families would be very busy for a big wedding festivity. As in like a festival for a big Mennonite family.
In addition about the love life, and tradition of making family to this people. It is said that the youngest of the family would be the one, who could inherit the farm and house of parents. Parents will also be helping the elders, to start their own living. At least, (smile).
There are lot of things I’ve learned about the Mennonite. Their ways, their belief and respect to their laws. I don’t disagree about their thinking. They live simply, non- extravagant, and peaceful living. However, why should I walk miles of distance when I can ride a car? Why should I use firewood when there are ovens I can use. Why use flickering lamps when there are switch off and on lights. And run to distance to spread the news or ask help when they can have cellphones? Those old ways are things that I don’t understand. However, that’s why they called Mennonite. That’s why they called different.
The Mennonite survives by their own ways, belief and hard works. They have gifts in making crafts like making quilts, which is very expensive but adorable. They involve in maple syrup business, using the old processing techniques. They also are selling products from their farms such as corn, strawberries, cherries, blue berries and other crops and vegetables. They also have their own dairy farm, horses and even rabbits. Hah! Opppss! I should not forget to mention that Mennonites are not allowing the visitors to take picture of them. Its religious reason. Poor Kodak, cannon and other camera products.
My last sentence about the Mennonite, especially for the women is, “I love their hats.”