The Amish celebrate Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Pentecost, Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost), Ascension Day, Saint Michael's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the day after Christmas and New Year's Day. Most holidays celebrated by the Amish are religious holidays, and the Amish typically do not celebrate other United States public holidays. The holidays are used as a time to fast and focus on the scriptures related to the holiday.
The Amish typically do not hold special church services on holidays. Rather, they read the related scripture during the Sunday service that is closest to the holiday. The Amish fast on Saint Michael's Day and Good Friday. The Amish do not decorate a Christmas tree or teach their children to believe in Santa Claus, but may exchange gifts. They use December 25 as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus and December 26 as a time to visit friends and family.
The Amish is an Anabaptist Christian sect that focuses on a simple life and literal interpretation of the Bible. They are generally recognized for their plain clothing, use of horse and buggies as transportation and their refusal to use electricity.
The name "Amish" is derived from Jakob Ammann, the man who began the teachings of the Amish and broke from the European Mennonite church. The first North American Amish communities were formed in Pennsylvania in the 18th century. As of 2014, there are approximately 290,090 Amish living in over 28 states and in Canada. The states with the largest number of Amish are Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.