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Barn Raising

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"Hitchin' up the buggy, churnin' lots of butter
Raised a barn on Monday, soon I'll raise another"

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. Rather, they 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. Of course, there can be some musicians to provide some music to liven up the work.

From all of this, a brand-new barn quickly emerges; one that the whole community can be proud of with a vibrant feeling of togetherness.


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    Film — Live Action 
  • In Canyon Passage, the entire community gathers for a 'cabin raising'; banding together to build a cabin for a young couple. At the end of the day, the couple are married in the new cabin and the whole town celebrates.
  • 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.
  • In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers the six younger Pontipee brothers first meet their love interests at a barn raising. Unfortunately the townsmen don't take too kindly to this and a fight eventually breaks out halfway through the raising. By the end the barn is in ruins and the Pontipees are the only ones left standing.
  • 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.

  • The American Girls Collection book Happy Birthday, Kirsten! ends with a barn-raising. The event is also used to celebrate Kirsten's birthday — a nice surprise for Kirsten, who was worried she'd been forgotten in all the kerfuffle over her new baby sister.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A variation in Season 5 of Smallville, the Kents and their neighbors participate in a raising of the frame of the new Kent House. Clark would ordinarily have done it by himself, but had recently been Brought Down to Normal.


  • 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 
  • Arthur: In "Buster's Amish Mismatch", Buster becomes obsessed with the Amish. Not having the means to raise a barn, he instead convinces his friends to come together and raise a doghouse.
  • Played as an Overly Long Gag in the Family Guy episode "Amish Guy", in which Peter blows up a barn, only for several Amish folk to rebuild it within seconds.
  • Fry participates in one while on the Amish Homeworld in the "Ghost in the Machines" episode of Futurama.
  • Happens twice in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • In the Pinky and the Brain episode "Funny, You Don't Look Rhennish," the pair pose as Rhennish to uncover the material sinusite, but are constantly interrupted by barn raisings.
  • 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.
    • In "Old Yeller-Belly", Homer calls in the Amish to build Bart a new treehouse after his old one is destroyed by lightning.