The Amish Hope Chest: A Cedar Lined Tradition
The Amish Hope Chest: What is it and what should be placed inside?
The Cedar Hope Chest Tradition
Becoming very popular at the turn of the century, Hope Chests were a traditional gift for girls crossing the threshold to womanhood.
It was put together over time and was a means by which women could help contribute to the home they’d one day share with a family of their own. Quite literally, the Hope Chest signified “hope for marriage” and the promise of lifelong love and security.
Photo: Virginia Historical Society
Hope Chests, most commonly made from Cedar or other solid woods, would be filled with household necessities such as kitchenware or bedding. In many cases, at least a few of the items would have been made by the young woman herself, or by close relatives. Treasured family heirlooms would also be included as a way to pass these treasures down through generations.
Commonly stored Hope Chest items included:
- childhood books
- family Bible
- family pictures
- pillow cases
- towels & dishcloths
- tablecloths & cloth napkins
- kitchen accessories
- wedding dress
- family heirlooms
- baby items
- china, etc.
While the tradition of the Cedar Hope Chest is no longer mainstream, many people still enjoy them. They may no longer store household essentials, but the Cedar lining is known to deter moths and other insects, which protects fabrics. The same oils that offers this protection also gives clothes and linens stored within a pleasing scent.
For those of you interested in starting a hope chest, Countryside offers a wide variety, the majority of which are built with Cedar or offer an aromatic Cedar lining. These one of a kind pieces are skillfully crafted by Amish artisans and are truly worth the investment.