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In Ye Old Olden Days, people lacked the sort of high-tech construction equipment that is standard these days for putting together larger buildings. Furthermore, smaller communities were generally out of the way from where large numbers of professional construction workers could be found. This could have left such communities in a bit of a tight spot when its citizens found themselves in need of larger buildings such as barns, town halls, and churches. At least, it could have had these Ye Old Olden Day folks not been the sort of people who were really good at coming together for such activities as the Barn Raising.

Commonly associated with both Down on the Farm and the Amish, a Barn Raising is a traditional communal activity where neighbors from all around would come together to help put up a barn (though similar activities could also result in the aforementioned buildings such as churches). Men will be found cutting lumber and putting up scaffolding, women will be found cooking and feeding the men, and children will be found getting the men water, moving the food from the women to the men, and playing.

And from all of this, a brand-new barn quickly emerges, one that the whole community can be proud of.

Examples of Barn Raising include:


  • Makes a big dance number in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
  • One of these occurs among the Amish community in Witness, and city-cop John Book is dragged along to participate. His doing so gains him the respect of the Amish he's hiding amongst.
  • In Kingpin, Roy tries to get a young Amish man to compete in a bowling tournament. To this end, he goes to the man's community and tries to live as one of them. That day, the Amish are putting up a barn, with Roy helping. Then the women call about dinner being ready. He lets go of the rope and runs, causing the barn wall to fall. The Amish are not amused.



  • The second act of the musical Plain and Fancy begins with Amish men building a new barn while singing "How Do You Raise A Barn?" after summer lightning burned the old barn down.

Western Animation

  • A Running Gag in the Pinky and The Brain episode "Funny, You Don't Look Rhennish."
  • In an episode of Arthur, Buster becomes obsessed with the Amish. Not really having the means to raise a barn, he instead convinces his friends to come together and raise a doghouse.
  • The Simpsons plays with this trope in the episode "Bart of Darkness," Homer Simpson buys a swimming pool kit and his whole family pitches in to assemble it. An Amish farmer appears to admire what they've built, which is a barn and not a pool. They get it right the second time.
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