The Barn Raising
A barn raising is simply the act of getting enough men together to do the heavy lifting required to erect a barn. Barn raisings are organized to build a barn for a newlywed couple or to replace a barn destroyed by wind or fire. At one time, all barns were erected this way, but nowadays, a crane is employed. Strictly speaking, the Ordnung allows a member of the Amish church to hire a crane and operator to lift beams for a barn, but the barn raising is a unifying community event. There is something of everyone in each barn. Although the barns are built in the traditional manner, materials can be ordered from a lumber yard. It is not necessary to make boards, nails, paint and shingles.
Many components of the barn, including the foundation, are prepared in advance so that all of the heavy lifting can be done with the full crew present. All able-bodied men pitch in. The older, experienced men direct the activities, and the boys act as "gofers." The women and girls prepare and serve food and drink, prodigious quantities of which will be consumed. They are also available for first aid.