|Mennonite woman selling fruit juice at St. Jacobs Christmas Market|
As the festive season rolls in with snow laden skies and the gentle drifting of snow flakes on a crisp winter’s morning, the muffled clip clop of horses hoofs on powder heralds the arrival of the Old Order Mennonites at St. Jacobs Christmas market in Ontario, Canada.
A black buggy, the first in a retinue of buggies drawn by sprightly hi-stepping horses, is the traditional conveyance for black-bonneted Mennonite women, their husbands and children. On their way to the market no-nonsense parents sit upfront, and small girls, arrayed like flowers in a row, sit demurely in the buggy’s sparse interior.
For those unfamiliar with a religious order that has lived and farmed for centuries in Canada’s Waterloo County, their arrival appears as a clip from an old time movie.
Horses are securely tethered to hitching posts. Children; mischievous boys and blonde girls with neat braids, are hustled into the warm confines of the great market barn. Before long, home made treats: pickled eggs, pickled cauliflower and pickled garlic in a glorious colorful assortment are stacked neatly in a wall of gleaming bottles. The ladies are ready to sell.
Images copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Thursday, 23rd December, 2010