For many years, people have been curious about the Amish. And because the Amish live in closed communities, people's understanding of them is limited. And as they say, "A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing!" The fact that the Amish have shunned technology and choose to live basic lives is something to be admired in a world where social media dominates so many of our lives. But among these positive aspects, there are also some major negatives lurking, depending on which side of the fence you're on, of course. If you've ever wondered what the differences are between you and the people in Amish communities, then this article is for you. Here are 25 facts about the Amish that may surprise you.
Can Amish People Use Electricity or Not?
A common misconception is that Amish people never use any form of electricity. So let's set the record straight. Although they generally avoid modern conveniences, electricity and technology are used in times of emergency. They don't permit technology to be used freely in everyday life because of their firm faith in God. "Gelassenheit," a German term, means the community should utilize the earth as God intended, which doesn't include modern conveniences.
Since landlines are necessary, some Amish communities allow their members to keep them in their barns even though they are forbidden in the home. Could you live like this?
Why Don’t Amish People Follow Facial Hair Trends?
Have you ever noticed that Amish men have great beards but never have matching mustaches? Surely some of them would like to sport a trendy goatee or a van dyke, wouldn't they?This "mustache-less" custom dates back to the 1800s when mustaches were associated with rich people or the military, which was contrary to Amish beliefs. The Amish don't trim their beards because they think that's how God intended them to look.
Because of what it stood for, they looked at the current fashion trend and decided to shave their mustaches. Men occasionally have shorter beards, but they often let them grow long.
Why Do the Amish Call All Outsiders “English? ”
Amish people have a practice that dates back to when they first arrived in America. Regardless of race or origin, all non-Amish individuals are referred to as "English." Since they believed themselves to be Americans just like everyone else they met, they started this because they lacked a term to describe outsiders. Because their "outsider" neighbors spoke English, they began referring to them as such, and the term has persisted over time.
Amish culture seldom changes when it comes to custom, and they're not interested in modernizing their beliefs. They continue to refer to outsiders as "English people" to this day.
Do Amish People Get the Opportunity to See What They’re Missing?
Teenagers can be baptized and welcomed as members of the Amish society once they have returned from their "Rumspringa." The Rumspringa lasts until the teens decide that the outer world is not for them. When they return, they are always welcomed back to the fold and can then be baptized. Transitioning from their life at home to the "English world" comes as a great shock. They are not used to our ways and have never been exposed to such a high level of technology.
As a result, they start to yearn for the simplicity of their hometowns, and they rapidly go back. In other instances, these teenagers never return.
There Are No Influencers in This Community!
No one in the Amish community uses social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. They don't have access to modern conveniences like cameras, so they don't even snap selfies. They also forbid paintings depicting humans, which use no power whatsoever yet seem to be forbidden anyway. Pictures of individuals, including those of their families and themselves, are taboo in the Amish community. You won't find any family portraits on their living room walls!
Since the Amish do not practice photography, when a member of the community passes away, only their memories remain. People in pictures are considered graven images.
If You’re an Outspoken, Independent Woman, Then This Community Is Not for You!
If you're a modern feminist, then prepare to be triggered! After finishing their formal education, women begin to focus on domestic duties, including sewing, cooking, and housekeeping. In Amish culture, a woman's place is in the home. They're essentially treated like glorified babysitters and must take care of the kids. Women in the Amish community are not allowed to hold positions of authority or make choices for themselves. Equality is not something to bother with!
While this may be discouraging to the average observer, it is, in fact, their reality. Married women are submissive to their husbands and expected to help out around the house.
You Must Obey!
The Amish, as you may have imagined, are notoriously rule-bound, and they have their own way of behaving. All of these regulations can be found in one book, and reading it is mandatory. Each member of the community carries a copy of the "Ordnung." This neatly bound book contains the community's rules and regulations. There are severe repercussions for rule breaking, and they vary depending on whatever rule was broken.
In the Ordnung, you'll find details like what to wear and how to raise your kids. They have a certain style of life and demand conformity from all members of the neighborhood.
How Do the Amish Punish Their Members?
What happens if I break the rules? Well, the Ordnung's laws are taken very seriously, and those who breach them face severe consequences. "Meidung," or "time outs," are a type of discipline. This means a person can be socially isolated but must continue to function within the rules. Excommunication is a severe type of punishment. This effectively bans you from ever setting foot within the community's borders again. But it is possible to reverse this punishment.
The Amish employ this method of punishment with the expectation that the offender should reflect on his or her wrongdoing and make amends before returning to the community.
How Do Married Couples Know if They’re Related or Not?
There is a deep trust in God and dedication to the church among the Amish people. Many people are curious about their origins or family history. It is against the law in their towns to conduct a DNA test. Due to the ban on such checks, many people have little choice except to wed inside the family. Inbreeding occurs unintentionally due to the tiny population sizes and limited reproductive opportunities in these societies.
They don't intentionally marry their cousins, but they do run the risk of genetic issues. The Amish believe that if you marry your third cousin, it is just God's will for you to do so.
What Is "Rumspringa? "
The German word "Rumspringa," which means "running around," is a rite of passage for teenagers who wish to escape their neighborhood. This time frame may span a week or perhaps several years. The timeframe is not important. They think that letting teens experience the outside world would motivate them to come home when they've had enough. They can only be fully welcomed into the community as adults who are fully committed.
Their willingness to return and adopt the Amish way of life may prove they are worthy. Teenagers can discover that the "English" style of life is not for them during this time.
Go Get the Modern World Out of Your System!
Contrary to popular belief, Amish teenagers can enjoy themselves just like other teenagers. The Amish elders allow teenagers to leave the community before they become adults because they know that they could rebel. During this time, they are not subject to punishment for anything they do or encounter outside the Amish community. Amish teenagers have the right to leave the community and encounter the outside world between the ages of 14 and 18.
Amish teenagers who leave their community to experience modern technologies and large cities before they grow up can be easily influenced to choose a different path, but not always.
No Sex Allowed!
The Amish society has a lot of customs, particularly when it comes to romance and marriage. Before being married, a couple is permitted to share a bed for one night, but intimacy is still not permitted. Premarital interactions are categorically forbidden among the Amish. They think that spending this one night together before getting married will strengthen their relationship. Before making a full commitment to one another, they might get to know one another better.
They claim that this evening will deepen their bond or reveal whether the two of them are indeed destined to be together. Either way, they're getting married!
Do Amish People Drive?
If you live close to an Amish settlement, you may have seen them traveling along a major route in their horse and buggy. They are permitted to be near other automobiles but are not permitted to drive them. Although horse and buggy may not be the safest option, cars aren't always that much better. Because a car represents wealth and modern society, according to the Amish, owning one will lead you to renounce your faith.
Owning a car is against the law since it allows you access to the outside world. If they must travel to a business meeting, a non-Amish person can provide transportation.
You Can Marry Whomever You Like, As Long as You Follow the Rules!
The Amish consider that your spouse must share your religious beliefs when you decide to date them. They believe that this results in a happy marriage. You and your spouse must both be baptized into the Amish church before you can even begin dating. In Amish culture, a couple must go on all of their dates in public to prevent any personal encounters before marriage. Additionally, these are not pre-arranged unions.
As long as the prospective spouse is an Amish community member and holds the same values, they think you can marry anybody you choose, even your third cousin!
Faceless Toys Only!
Amish toys are made without faces! But why would a kid want to play with toys with no faces? The toys are always hand-made and have a distinctively Amish appearance. They are all soft and typically have the same appearance, whether they are a young girl dressed in Amish clothing, a horse, or a vegetable. These toys lack faces in an effort to educate kids that appearance is irrelevant because God loves everyone.
This may seem alien to you and me, but the Amish believe that children should learn that lesson while they are still young. Do you think that's a little over the top?
No Government Needed!
In the Amish community, the Bible is the only source of authority. While they do have a set of rules, it is not thought of as a form of government but rather a way for them to live in accordance with God. They reject all types of government since they have no bearing on their way of life. Since they don't trust the government, the church makes the decisions regarding crime and punishment.
However, suppose a serious crime occurs in their society. In that case, they will report it to the police because they realize the church cannot handle every situation.
Would You Like to Become Amish?
Despite their efforts to cut themselves off from the outside world, Amish people will not prevent an outsider from joining them. A person must first intern with an Amish family before fully integrating into the Amish culture. To determine whether the Amish way of life is right for you before joining the community, you must embark on a trip. It's all or nothing. Your phone with all the social networking applications must be left behind.
Everything else from the outside world must go too. After you have followed the procedures, the church will determine whether or not to accept you.
After the lengthy ceremony and receiving the church's blessing, you can finally celebrate your marriage in Amish society. The newlyweds will stay at the bride's parents' house for the first night of their honeymoon. Then it is customary to clean the house the next morning as an expression of thanks. The pair would next visit more relatives and switch residences. The newlyweds are then permitted to spend their first night together entirely alone.
Big Brother is definitely watching in these communities! If you value your privacy more than anything else, then this lifestyle choice is not for you!
What Language Do the Amish Speak?
The Amish people speak three different languages and are proficient in all of them. The most notable one is German; since they were established in the 1700s, they brought many German traditions with them, including the language. The language of all religious services is German. Pennsylvania Dutch and English make up the other two languages. When they arrived in North America, the settlers first learned English to communicate with the already-established European immigrants.
The Amish developed Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German, and frequently use it in conversation. If you have German roots, you could do very well here!
You Can’t Just Marry Anyone!
It is not the parents' responsibility to bless the couple before the wedding; rather, it is the church's. This age-old Amish custom typically takes place soon after a couple begins dating. Suppose the couple would like to get married. In that case, traditionally, the male makes the proposal, and the woman must accept if the church sanctions it.
If the church has concerns about the union, the couple cannot get married.
When the church gives its blessing to an engagement, the announcement appears in the local paper, and the couple quickly ties the knot. Not a great deal for the ladies!
Where Did the Amish Come From?
Due to their isolation, the Amish have earned a reputation for being the subject of many false stereotypes. The name "Amish" originates with Swiss Anabaptist Jakob Ammann. He established the principles upon which the Amish community now stands. When Ammann saw that the "Mennonites" weren't the right fit for those who wanted a simpler way of life, he left to found his own congregation. Beginning in the 1720s, this tribe began relocating.
They've developed prosperous settlements in the present-day states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere in the Midwest. Their unusual way of life has captured widespread interest.
No Bells and Whistles at These Weddings!
The wedding ceremony for an Amish couple takes a very long time. The ceremony is understated, and neither the bride nor groom wear expensive attire. The bride dons a plain blue dress and a hat, but she is forbidden from donning any cosmetics or jewelry—not even a diamond ring to represent their impending nuptials. Additionally, no diamond ring is given when a man proposes to his fiancée, according to Amish custom.
A lady never wears jewelry, even after being married, since it represents vanity. Amish people don't marry for money or material items because they avoid them; they marry for love alone.
When it comes to Amish communities, sharing is caring. They even host enormous potlucks for everyone to enjoy while constructing barns for one another. At this meal, which each community member must contribute to, there is time for socializing. An essential Amish concept is to host large gatherings of people for meals. They not only have meals together but also provide assistance to anybody in need.
If you don't have insurance, medical expenses might be very expensive. Regardless of the expense, the Amish will band together to assist anybody who needs it.
No Need for Further Education!
The Amish cease attending school after the eighth grade, which may appear strange in today's society. Girls start learning how to be homemakers when they graduate from school and start working as housekeepers. In order to become good spouses and moms in the future, they learn how to sew, cook, and crochet. In contrast to the females, the guys must already know what their set career will be when they graduate from eighth grade.
Since their society is built around practical activities, the Amish do not need to continue their education because they learn everything through work.
All Other Religious Beliefs Are Fine as Long as You Choose This One!
It may surprise you to learn that there is no designated church building. The Amish saw no need for something so expensive as stained glass windows with cathedral ceilings, which are common in churches. They want to keep things straightforward and uncomplicated and think a church structure would be excessive. As long as they can exercise their religion, it doesn't really matter where it is for them—it may be outside as the sun sets or inside someone's barn.
The Amish don't push you to share their religious views, and they never criticize other faiths. However, they do think that their religion is what works for them.