If you live in the Midwest, specifically Pennsylvania, you are likely familiar with the Amish culture. This religious community generally avoids modern-day rituals. They are a really lovely group, but they prefer to keep their lives private, so little is known about them. They also have fascinating customs that will astound you! We’ve assembled a list of facts for you to find out.
You won’t find many drivers in Amish communities. Many Amish people would move by horse and carriage since they are renowned for their aversion to modern technology. The use of technology is forbidden by religious rules, which explains this trend. The Amish are allowed to ride in modern vehicles but not to drive them.
While an older Amish man with a long beard is not unusual, mustaches are uncommon. Mustaches are frowned upon, but beards are acceptable since men in the Bible sported them often. As a result, seeing an Amish man with a large beard isn’t surprising.
“Believer’s baptism,” which is basically a baptism for those reaching adulthood, is a traditional Amish procedure. Since it is believed that faith cannot arise until the age of accountability, a believer’s baptism is sometimes referred to as adult baptism. When a child reaches the period that they may earnestly confess their faith, they are often baptized as believers. Anabaptism, a Christian movement, gave rise to this belief.
The Ordnung is a collection of rules that regulate the social elements that are forbidden. The Ordnung laws regulate everything from clothing to technology to schooling. The term “command” or “discipline” is derived from a German word. Since there is no central church government among the Amish, each assembly is autonomous and governs itself.
Since there is no organized religious government, each church is free to alter the Ordnung as they see fit. Since they have this ability, each Amish group can have its own set of laws. Some cultures have more stringent rules than others.
When Amish children reach puberty, they usually participate in Rumspringa, a rite of passage that helps them to experience the modern world. Some Amish teens are allowed to leave their families to partake in activities that are usually forbidden at home.
Contrary to popular belief, arranged marriages do not exist in the Amish community. The majority of Amish marriages are formed through society’s traditional dating and courtship processes. When it comes to choosing a wedding partner, there are no arranged marriages with parents or other mediators. Young people who wish to be baptized into a particular Amish affiliation (usually the one in which they grew up) must marry within that group.
Not one but three languages are covered in Amish education! Students are taught English, German, and Pennsylvania Dutch/German from an early age. These languages are also spoken in the nations, so expect to hear one of these three if you visit anytime soon.
After the harvest season and communions, which usually take place in October, the majority of Amish weddings take place. As a result, the bulk of weddings take place in November and December, late in the fall season. That isn’t a very long wedding season.
Amish culture has a fascinating rule that seems to have enhanced community wellbeing. They have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and smoking, and statistics indicate that they have a cancer rate that is 40% lower than the rest of the world. Given the advantages, maybe more people should follow this lead!
Clothing shopping for the Amish must be relatively simple due to the restrictions and emphasis on modesty. They don’t wear bright colors or patterns, and their clothes are mainly simple colors and designs from the 1700s, allowing you to mix and match any of their outfits!
The first Amish families came to America in 1693, fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They chose Pennsylvania as their home because of the state’s respect for religious freedoms. This is a wise decision since they are all alive and well today, openly expressing their convictions!
Sleeping Together Before Marriage
Unlike other religious groups, the Amish allow couples to share a bed before getting married. The only stipulation is that they must be fully dressed and talk when lying in bed. This is a way for them to reinforce their bond before they marry.
It turns out that the Amish pay the same federal and state taxes as the rest of the country. On the other hand, the Amish is said to not pay Social Security taxes and therefore do not receive compensation.
The Largest Amish Population
People may believe that since the founding family came from Pennsylvania, the state has the largest Amish population, but this does not appear to be the case. In fact, if you move a few hundred miles west of Pennsylvania, you’ll find Ohio, a state that outnumbers Pennsylvania by a few hundred.
The Amish are well-known for their educational methods. Amish children also attend one- or two-room private schools. Many Amish children who receive their education in most private institutions drop out after the eighth grade. After their senior year of high school, some of them go straight into the workforce.
Right To Vote
Amish people are permitted to vote in US elections, but it is not normal for them to do so. According to one study, only about 15% of Amish voters cast their ballots. Despite their lack of success, a small number of people still vote.
The Amish religion is predominantly pacifist, rejecting conflict and placing a high priority on repentance. The Amish refuse to serve in the military or support the death penalty for religious reasons. The Amish are pacifists who claim to obey Jesus’ order to love those who hate you. The Amish despise all forms of violence.
Faceless dolls are often offered to young Amish children as a toy. The expressionless, blank faces discourage pride and vanity. The dolls are faceless because “all are alike in God’s view,” according to a 2007 sociological report, and the lack of facial features complies with the Bible’s prohibition against graven images. The majority of Amish doll makers kept their identities secret.
Since they believe it is a means of self-expression that would lead to feelings of dominance and pride, Amish people do not play musical instruments. Amish church songs are based on the Ausbund, a High German songbook with no musical notation.
A Computer For The Amish
There was, believe it or not, a computer built specifically for Amish communities. Internet access and video and music playback aren’t available on the Deskmate word processor. The computer can handle basic word processing, spreadsheets, and accounting. The Deskmate would not violate any long-standing Amish traditions since some (but not all) Amish use equipment that can only be used for industry.
In 1920, there were about 5,000 Amish in the United States. In today’s money, that number equates to 300,000. Furthermore, much of the growth occurred in the last three decades, when the Amish population was just 84,000 in 1984. The increase is attributed to the belief that God needs larger families and the more realistic problem of expanding their farm workforce.
Strict Guidelines For Clothes
By definition, Amish clothing is plain. While some sects accommodate muted colors, the majority of sects dress in black and white. Because of the potential for ostentation and decoration, buttons, zippers, and velcro, in addition to color, are generally frowned upon and avoided. Pins or hook-and-eye closures are commonly used instead.
Isolated From The Community
The Amish youth face a tough decision following their Rumspringa trip. They must choose whether to remain in the church or leave it. This is a difficult choice because if they don’t make it, they’ll be cut off from their families and friends for the rest of their lives. This is why 90% of customers remain loyal.
In terms of technology, the majority of Amish families have strict laws, but some are more flexible than others. Tractors, electric refrigerators, bathtubs with running water, and propane gas are all allowed in the Alona Amish community. Some societies also permit the use of mobile phones.
One of the many Amish customs is that no rings are worn during the engagement or wedding. If a couple agrees to get engaged, no jewelry is permitted, and this rule also applies to the wedding ceremony. This is just one of the many odd Amish wedding customs.
Holding engagements concealed from families and the community for many months is a common practice in Amish cultures. Couples usually get engaged in the spring but don’t tell their families until the summer. The family then keeps it a secret until October, when the ceremony takes place.
No White Dress
On their wedding day, Amish brides don’t wear white; instead, they wear blue. The bride designs her own gown as well as the gowns for her bridesmaids. The same wedding gown becomes her main church gown and the one she is buried in after this day.
Celery is a traditional Amish wedding dish. Many soups and other dishes contain it as the main ingredient. It’s also used in place of flowers as a decoration. If a family is planning a wedding, they typically start growing celery months in advance. And before the proposal is made public!
No Real Retirement Age
Amish people usually start cutting back on their daily lives between the ages of 50 and 70. Their physical condition also dictates this. They typically relocate to a designated grandparent’s home on their family’s land. When older people are in good health, they generally stay at home, and the women in the family take care of them as their health deteriorates.
Amish people are baptized into their church between the ages of 16 and 25. Before that, the person is not permitted to marry. They can only marry another member of the same church. Not to mention that it usually occurs quickly. In comparison to other types of Christianity, this is very unique. Since, for the most part, parents decide whether or not to baptize their children. People in the Amish culture, on the other hand, choose whether or not to be baptized into the church. They do not baptize children because they are not of legal age to make such a decision.
Even though the Amish don’t mind people photographing them, they aren’t allowed to photograph themselves. They are also not permitted to have them in their residences. The same logic applies to the dolls and clothing: to keep them humble and resist vanity.
Barn-raising is referred to as a frolic among the Amish. When a new barn is required, they make a big deal out of it. Hundreds of people are expected to attend. The men are in charge of manual labor, while the women are in charge of meal preparation. It’s a well-liked pastime.
If an Amish person leaves the Amish church, they will almost certainly lose touch with their relatives. This is because they will be shunned and excommunicated. However, nearly 90% of Amish adolescents chose to remain in the church.
Despite their reputation for being extremely noble, one aspect of Amish culture takes on a far darker hue. Due to rising farmland prices and dwindling demand for small-scale agriculture, some Amish communities have turned to dog farming as a new income source. In reality, the Amish group owns roughly 20% of all puppy mills in the United States.
Although the Amish do not deliberately marry their cousins, there is a high risk of inbreeding in their families. Since Amish families are so small, they don’t have much of a choice when it comes to marrying another Amish person.
Another fascinating aspect of the Amish is that they reject evangelism. They have a tradition of excluding non-members and isolating themselves from the modern world. It’s no surprise, then, that the Amish refuse to recruit. Also, the most ardent supporters of the Amish are unable to join the church.
The Amish are unconcerned with your race, skin tone, or country of origin. They refer to someone who isn’t Amish as an English person. It is mainly due to centuries-old immigration trends. When you consider that the Amish are not known for modifying their traditions, it makes sense.
As one would expect, there are no Instagram accounts for Amish people. It’s probably obvious since they don’t use cameras. However, did you know they don’t create paintings either? It’s somewhat confusing since a brush and canvas aren’t by any means modern technology, so what’s the reasoning behind it? Well, in Amish tradition, when a loved one dies, they don’t have any images to remember them by except for their memories. Having a picture or a painting of someone is considered a graven image, which isn’t allowed.
Since you need someone who will support your religion, it’s no wonder that the Amish only marry people from their culture. Persuading someone to change their lifestyle and behaviors for marriage entirely is challenging. However, there are also significant dating limitations in the Amish culture. You are not allowed to date someone who has not been baptized in the Amish religion. You can’t even start dating until you’ve been accepted into the group. Not to mention that dating takes place only in public places.
Any significant life event in the Amish community necessitates due thought and involves the whole community. People can’t just get engaged and marry without anyone’s permission. It doesn’t take long for a couple to get engaged once they start dating. When the man proposes, he and his fiancee must obtain church permission. They are permitted to marry after the church has blessed them.
How about spending your honeymoon at your parents’ house? From the outside, it seems to be very off-putting. On the other hand, tradition is profoundly rooted in Amish cultures, and this is one of them. The honeymoon will begin at the home of the bride’s parents. The bride and groom will then clean the parents’ house the following day as a thank you.
The Honeymoon Continues
Amish honeymoons have several different parts to them, which are spread out over different places. The couple would pack up and go to the next house after spending the first night at the bride’s parents’ house, meeting all of their relatives as husband and wife. If the newlywed couple does not yet have their own home, they will remain with the bride’s parents until they can purchase one.
When you see someone wearing a bonnet, don’t jump to conclusions; they may not even be Amish. Mennonites are among them. The Amish and Mennonites are not the same, despite their similarities. In reality, if you mix the two up, they’ll be really offended. Mennonites are a non-Orthodox Christian sect similar to the Amish. They don’t isolate themselves and live in more modern cultures. Many of them use technology and drive automobiles. There are occasions when a Mennonite’s dress is indistinguishable from that of a non-Mennonite.
Despite the fact that the Amish have many limits on their activities and lifestyles, they are also surprisingly permissive and encourage people to make their own decisions. There is, however, a framework in place for those who break the rules. It’s basically an Amish version of a “time-out.” If anyone is found to be breaking their ethics code, there will undoubtedly be repercussions. Meidung is one of them, which means that the community shuns the individual.
Although Meidung relates to being shunned by the Amish community, Bann is a much more severe penalty. If the transgression is severe enough to result in permanent excommunication, you’ll be put in the Bann and treated as an outsider. Depending on your ‘crime,’ you may be shunned for an extended period of time. Even if it can seem harsh, the goal is for the individual to recognize their error and apologize.
Everyone nowadays wants to get DNA testing to learn more about their ancestors and maybe locate long-lost relatives, thanks to modern technology. All except the Amish, who refuse to allow it. That is why marrying your third cousin in their community is so easy. They assume it is God’s will that inbreeding exists.
This is a celebration you’ll want to participate in. The Amish are very kind people. In their culture, the concept of hosting and engaging in shared meals is extremely significant. Everyone brings something to the huge table because it’s essentially one big potluck. It happens very often, and it’s the ideal opportunity to catch up with others.
No Church Buildings
Isn’t seeing all of the art and places of worship that religious groups worldwide have produced one of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting them? Tourists won’t find any churches in Amish land, for example. They aren’t very fond of ornate churches and cathedrals. They believe that because they can study the bible anywhere, they don’t need a church or anything fancy.
In all sectors of traditional Amish life, various forms of farming have been at the center of their working lives. However, within the last hundred years, it has been reported that more and more Amish have become involved in business enterprises. These business enterprises have notably been in carpentry among other craftsman-like businesses, as well as selling farm products. Additionally, they have been known to form constriction crews to build houses for non-Amish. Most recently they have even been known to work in factories.
As previously mentioned, the Amish indeed have to pay the same taxes as any other US Citizen. They pay all regular taxes, including income, property, sales, estate, corporate and school taxes. The only tax the Amish don’t pay, or collect, would be Social Security; receiving an exemption from congress in 1965 as the Amish saw it as a version of commercial insurance.
As per Amish beliefs, they do not serve in the military. This is also true noot just for war, but other roles where violence or aggression can be seen, such as law-enforcement, politics and legal actions. The Amish believe in non-resistance, a term different in meaning to pacifism and states their position perfectly.
The “Ordnung” of an Amish community will demand different rules and regulations depending on the community. Most of the groups forbid Amish from owning vehicles, using electricity from public utility lines, using automatic farm equipment, among other things like using a television or a radio. Photography is also not allowed due to it’s possibility of encouraging vanity; something the Amish disapprove to the highest level.
Is Technology Evil?
The Amish actually do not think of technology as something evil, more that it has the potential to be evil. This is from the possibility of it’s misuse in the community, and the chance that it could encourage people to leave the Amish community and assimilate into neighboring society. If popular worldwide media was introduced into the Amish, they fear that foreign values would become a part of their society, something they desperately try to prevent.
The Horse-And-Buggy Method
The Amish harbor the belief that increased mobility would actually cause more harm to the community than helping it. They believe that the use of cars would erode local ties. The horse-and-buggy method is a classic Amish tradition, and they believe that it keeps them tethered to traditional values. Even though you may see a car or two in an Amish community, the Amish are not allowed to drive them. They are however allowed to hire outsiders to drive these vehicles within the community however.
Though the Amish appear similar, and follow fundamental core values; there are actually four main groups: the Old Order, the New Order, the Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites. These groups also have their own subgroups, and they all have different rules. For example, the Beachy Amish sometimes allow electricity to use, whereas the Old Order and New Order do not.
Surprisingly the Amish do indeed go on vacation. This does not necessarily fare true for all Amish communities, but can be seen in those such as the Mennonite communities. Many have been seen in Pinecraft, Florida during the winter, in attempt to avoid the harsh winter in their community. It is still easy to stay true to their values, even when vacationing.
Joining The Amish
As previously mentioned, the Amish are somewhat hostile of outsiders attempting to join. That being said, some communities, particularly the Mennonite ones are fairly welcoming to outsiders. They must however, meet the full requirements for membership. The conditions vary depending on community, with the liberal and more moderate ones having a more relaxed policy, and the conservative ones being more rigid.
Leaving the Amish community is a tricky thing. Not the process of leaving itself, as anyone can leave at any moment with total freedom, but the repercussions that occur. If the departure is short-lived, the community may even re-welcome you. However, a permanent departure will cause the leaver to be shunned by the community. The person will always be seen as an outsider and will never be allowed to participate fully in the community again. This is tough for some Amish folk as they will also be shunned by their families.
Animals can be taken as pets by Amish, but they are generally used for work. Foreign ideas like vegetarianism (ethical reasons) or large spending on veterinary care are not regular in Amish communities. They are not harsh to animals but pets are not standard for Amish culture.
It can be seen that Amish have an interesting political spectrum, appearing both conservative and liberal at the same time. A combination of rejecting divorce and abortion, as well as advocating for modest dress and being against pop culture. However, they also show their entrepreneurship. Advocating for fiscal austerity while rejecting social norms is something noteworthy to say the least.
Community In Business
The Amish clearly partake in capitalism, but humanely. The Amish launch many successful businesses, and their businesses have a high survival rate. For example, competitors help each other. A person who started a farm-produce business may help another prospective business owner by teaching them tricks of the trade. Despite the fact they would become competitors, community overrides the greed that would engulf normal society.
Obviously not for every Amish business, but true for some- there are opportunities for Amish employees to earn ownership stakes from their employers. This way they can truly take a share of the profits. The Amish have an understanding that families need a certain amount of wealth to lead a healthy life, and as previously mentioned, community trumps personal success.
As can be seen throughout, the Amish are a unique and interesting people. Their methods may not be for everyone, but you can not deny their way of life certainly has some benefits. Where they may seem outdated in many of their methods, they are showing signs of progression (in some sectors). Their health statistics are undeniable and their methods in business are noteworthy for sure.