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Intriguing Insights into the Amish Way of Life

Intriguing Insights into the Amish Way of Life


You’ve likely come across the Amish at some point, especially if you reside in Pennsylvania or the Midwest. Yet, it’s surprising how little we truly understand about this enigmatic community that thrives across the United States. Nestled within their tight-knit societies, they embrace a tech-free existence and, while amicable, maintain a distinct separation from the outside world. This isolation has given birth to a captivating tapestry of customs and practices that are as fascinating as they are peculiar. Join us as we embark on a fascinating journey through the intricate world of the Amish, delving into their unique wedding rituals and unconventional views on modern medicine.

Amish People and Electricity

Many folks often assume that the Amish are entirely off the grid regarding electricity… While they maintain a steadfast aversion to modern technology, there are moments when electricity makes a cameo, particularly during emergencies. The roots of their tech avoidance, however, lie deep within their unwavering faith in God. Their commitment to this principle is encapsulated in the German concept of “Gelassenheit,” which emphasizes using the Earth in harmony with God’s intentions. In select Amish communities, you might stumble upon landline phones discreetly tucked away in barns, permitted only out of necessity for critical communication.

Why do Amish Men Have Beards But Not Moustaches? If you take a glimpse at photographs of Amish men, you’ll likely observe a striking pattern – long, flowing beards paired with clean-shaven faces. This intriguing tradition refers to the 1800s when mustaches were regarded as symbols of affluence or military service, a departure from the Amish way of life. In alignment with their deeply-held beliefs, the Amish adhere to a principle that dictates they should maintain a visage as nature intended, hence their reluctance to trim their beards. However, mustaches bore the weight of social connotations and fashion trends of the time that didn’t align with their values. What do They Call People Who Aren’t Amish? Deep-rooted in Amish culture since their early settlement in the United States, there’s a captivating tradition that has persisted through the ages. They affectionately refer to all non-Amish individuals as “English,” regardless of their racial or ethnic background. This practice finds its origin in a unique historical quirk – the Amish, seeing themselves as true Americans, lacked a distinct term for those outside their close-knit community. The moniker “English” emerged as a natural choice, as it mirrored the language spoken by their “outsider” neighbors, and it has clung to their traditions ever since. Within the unchanging tapestry of Amish society, where tradition reigns supreme, this timeless label for outsiders endures, offering a fascinating glimpse into their unwavering commitment to preserving their way of life. You Are Officially Amish When You Get Baptised After completing their Rumspringa, Amish teenagers can officially undergo baptism, cementing their membership within the Amish community. Baptism, however, has no age constraints since Rumspringa can span several years or until they decide whether the outside world suits them. The Amish community remains open to those who choose to return. For many teenagers, venturing into the “English world” is a stark departure from their accustomed way of life. The abundance of technology and unfamiliar societal norms can be overwhelming, leading them to yearn for the simplicity of their Amish roots, often prompting a swift return. Yet, some find themselves drawn to the outside world, opting not to return

They Themselves Do Not Take Pictures Within the Amish community, you won’t stumble upon anyone using modern technology. Their resolute rejection of electricity and technology extends to the point where they eschew photography altogether. Surprisingly, they even forbade the creation of paintings depicting people. In the intricate tapestry of Amish traditions, the possession of images portraying individuals, be it family members or themselves, is strictly verboten. It’s a remarkable facet of their way of life that when an Amish community member passes away, there are no visual mementos to commemorate them, only cherished memories. In the eyes of the Amish, images of people are deemed akin to graven idols. A Woman’s Role in the Amish Community After completing their education, Amish women transition into a distinct phase of learning focused on practical life skills like sewing, cooking, and household management. Their societal roles predominantly involve being homemakers, caring for their families, and tending to children. In Amish communities, opportunities for women to assume leadership roles or make independent decisions are limited. While this may seem restrictive from an outsider’s perspective, for Amish women, it constitutes their familiar way of life. Upon marriage, their husbands assume leadership, and wives take on responsibilities in overseeing daily household affairs. There Are Many Rules to Follow Unsurprisingly, the Amish are renowned for their intricate web of rules, a multitude of which are meticulously documented within a volume known as the Ordnung. This tome serves as a comprehensive guide to the Amish way of life, and every community member is expected to acquaint themselves with its contents. Breaking any of these rules carries weighty consequences, the severity of which depends on the specific infraction. The Ordnung contains a treasure trove of regulations, spanning from distinctive dress codes to guidelines governing the interaction of children with technology and even the precise appearance of their horse-drawn buggies.

What Are the Consequences of Not Following the Rules? Curiosity might lead you to wonder about the consequences that follow rule-breaking within the Amish community, and the spectrum of penalties can vary. The rules etched into the Ordnung hold profound significance, and transgressions are met with repercussions. One such disciplinary measure is known as “Meidung,” akin to a time-out… On the more severe end of the spectrum lies excommunication, a punitive measure that involves complete expulsion from the community. This exile can endure for months, serving not only as a punishment but as a mechanism for personal growth and reflection. The Amish view excommunication as a means for individuals to reckon with their mistakes, fostering the hope that they will eventually return… Always God Over Science Deep-rooted faith in God forms the cornerstone of Amish communities, underpinning their unwavering commitment to their religious beliefs. Within these tightly-knit societies, unconventional practices like DNA testing are strictly prohibited, leading to a unique set of challenges for those who yearn to unearth their ancestral roots and heritage. The absence of DNA testing often results in a situation where individuals inadvertently find themselves marrying close relatives due to the limited options within their small communities. While it’s important to note that the Amish do not intentionally seek out such unions, the realities of their close-knit society sometimes lead to inbreeding.

A Right of Passage For Everyone When Amish teenagers yearn to venture beyond the confines of their community, they embark on a transformative journey known as “Rumspringa,” a term borrowed from the German language, signifying “running around.” The duration of this rite of passage can be as fleeting as a week or extend over several years. This unique tradition grants young adults the freedom to explore the outside world, a pivotal experience designed to kindle a desire to return to their Amish roots when they’ve gleaned all they can from the “English” way of life. The readiness to embrace the Amish way upon their return is what ultimately solidifies their place as adults within the community. Amish People Know How to Party Contrary to common belief, Amish teenagers aren’t deprived of the joys and adventures typical of their peers. The elders within the Amish community possess a deep understanding of the teenage spirit. So before transitioning to full-fledged adulthood, these Amish teens can explore the outside world without fear of reprisal for their choices and experiences. Between the ages of 14 and 18, Amish youth have the freedom to temporarily depart their close-knit community and delve into the broader “English” world. This intriguing practice might ring a bell for those who’ve followed the TV series Breaking Amish on TLC, which chronicled the journeys of five Amish teens. That One Special Night Within the rich tapestry of Amish traditions, courtship and marriage hold a special place, each governed by time-honored customs. Before embarking on their marital journey, Amish couples are afforded a unique opportunity – a night spent together in the same bed. The rationale behind this special night lies in the belief that it fosters a deeper connection between the couple. It provides a precious space for heartfelt conversations and a chance to truly understand one another profoundly before taking the solemn vows of marriage. In the eyes of the Amish, this night holds the potential to either fortify their bond or reveal whether their union is destined to be. The Amish Do Not Drive Cars

If you reside in close proximity to an Amish enclave, you’ve likely encountered the enchanting sight of them traveling in their distinctive horse-drawn buggies along bustling roads. While they eschew the act of driving, the presence of automobiles in their surroundings isn’t a foreign concept. The Amish view car ownership as a potential catalyst for forsaking their faith, a symbolic link to both affluence and the trappings of modern society. Consequently, the ownership of cars is strictly prohibited. In situations necessitating travel for business engagements or other purposes, the Amish rely on individuals outside their community to chauffeur them. You and Your Partner Need to be of the Same Faith In the realm of Amish courtship, faith forms the cornerstone of romantic unions. The belief that shared religious convictions pave the way for a harmonious marriage holds sway among the Amish. Before the prospect of dating even arises, both individuals must undergo baptism into the Amish church, uniting their spiritual journeys. In the Amish world, romance unfolds within a unique framework – all dates occur in public spaces, ensuring that intimacy remains on hold until the sacred bonds of marriage are formed. They champion the idea that love can blossom freely, provided both partners are members of the Amish community and adhere to the same cherished beliefs. Amish Toys Don’t Have Faces For an Interesting Reason You might be curious about why Amish children find joy in playing with these seemingly eerie faceless toys. The Amish crafting tradition extends to their toys, and they are all part of a thoughtful design. Each of these playthings is meticulously handcrafted, mirroring elements of the Amish way of life. These toys encompass a range of familiar shapes, yet they share a common feature – a lack of facial features. This deliberate absence serves as a powerful message: appearances hold no significance. Instead, these toys aim to impart a valuable lesson to children, emphasizing that everyone is important and cherished.

There is no Formal Government Within the Amish community, a singular authority reigns supreme – the divine word of God. While they do possess their own set of guidelines, it’s not a governmental structure but a means to align their lives with the divine will. The trappings of secular government have no bearing on their way of life and are unequivocally dismissed. Without government intervention, the Amish church assumes the role of arbiter in matters of justice and retribution. However, in cases involving grave transgressions that transcend the church’s jurisdiction, they exercise pragmatism and engage the external authorities, understanding the limitations of their own system. Anyone Can Join the Community While the Amish diligently uphold their isolation from the outside world, they don’t shut the door on those who genuinely aspire to join their community. Initiating this transformative journey towards becoming a full-fledged member of the Amish community begins with an immersive apprenticeship within an Amish family. For those seeking entry, it’s a voyage of discovery to determine if the Amish way of life truly resonates with their being. It’s an all-or-nothing commitment; there’s no middle ground. To fully embrace the Amish path, one must leave behind all vestiges of the external world. Once these steps are completed, the ultimate decision rests with the church… Cancer is Not Common Among the Amish It may seem like a distant possibility, but within the Amish enclave, the occurrence of cancer is exceptionally rare. Many people believe that it has something to do with their produce. These homegrown treasures are free from the harmful chemicals often found in conventional produce, potentially safeguarding them from cancer risks. Another compelling theory stems from their resolute rejection of electricity and modern technology. This steadfast stance shields them from exposure to potentially harmful waves, presenting a plausible explanation for their remarkably low rates of cancer and serious illnesses. The First Night as a Married Couple Once the church has given its blessing and the elaborate ceremony has culminated in wedded bliss within the Amish community, the time for celebration arrives. To kickstart their honeymoon, the newlywed couple embarks on an unusual but cherished tradition: their first night together is spent at the bride’s parents’ home.

The morning after, the couple embarks on a unique ritual – cleaning the house. This act symbolizes their appreciation and respect for their families. Subsequently, they embark on a journey of visiting various relatives, hopping from one house to another. Only after this process do the newlyweds finally enjoy their first night together in blissful solitude. The Amish Are Well Versed in Many Languages The Amish community boasts a remarkable linguistic prowess, seamlessly conversing in three distinct languages. Foremost among them is German, an enduring legacy from their 18th-century settlement days, when they imported numerous German customs, including their language. Amidst the linguistic tapestry, English and Pennsylvanian Dutch hold their unique places. English was a pragmatic necessity for the early settlers to communicate with the already-established European immigrants upon arriving in North America. Meanwhile, Pennsylvanian Dutch, a variation of German, was thoughtfully embraced by the Amish for everyday discourse. Babies Do Not Get Baptised In the tapestry of religious customs, baptism often marks a significant rite of passage for infants. However, within the Amish realm, a distinctive tradition unfolds. Unlike many faiths, the Amish abstain from baptizing babies, grounded in the profound belief that one should have the autonomy to willingly choose the Amish faith. As the belief goes, since infants cannot exercise that choice, their baptisms are thoughtfully deferred until they reach the ages of 16 to 24. It’s during these formative years that the Amish believe individuals attain a level of maturity and responsibility essential for making a conscientious decision about their place within the Amish community. In Order For the Marriage to be Accepted, A Blessing Needs to be Given In the Amish tradition, the path to matrimony takes a unique route – it’s not parental blessings but the church’s approval that carries significance. This time-honored practice unfurls shortly after the couple’s romantic journey begins. Typically, it’s the man who extends the proposal, but its acceptance hinges entirely on the church’s endorsement. Should the church withhold its approval, the couple’s union is not permitted. However, when the church does bless their engagement, the joyous news reverberates through the community, finding its way into the town’s newspaper. With the church’s seal of approval, the couple embarks on a swift journey to wedded bliss, their nuptials following shortly after. What Does the Word “Amish” Mean? Misconceptions often swirl around the Amish, partly because of their intentional separation from the world beyond their close-knit communities. The name “Amish” itself traces its roots to Jakob Ammann, a prominent Swiss Anabaptist whose teachings and influence laid the bedrock of Amish beliefs. Ammann’s quest for a simpler, more unadorned way of life led him to part ways with the Mennonites, paving the path for establishing his distinct church. Around 1720, this group of like-minded individuals embarked on a journey to settle in regions like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the American Midwest. Traditional Amish Wedding Traditions In the realm of Amish matrimony, the journey unfolds with simplicity and heartfelt commitment. The wedding ceremony itself is devoid of opulent gowns or extravagant tuxedos. Instead, the bride dons a modest blue dress and a bonnet, adhering to a strict prohibition against makeup or jewelry, including the customary diamond ring symbolizing matrimony. Interestingly, in Amish tradition, the act of proposing doesn’t involve the exchange of a diamond ring, as jewelry is viewed as a symbol of vanity, a facet eschewed in their way of life. For the Amish, the essence of marriage transcends material possessions and wealth, grounded solely in the profound bond of love. Where Do Newlyweds Live? The Amish honeymoon unfolds as a delightful journey characterized by a unique tradition of traversing between the homes of their respective relatives. It’s a multifaceted experience that unfolds across different locations, reflecting the Amish penchant for spreading their honeymoon period over various settings. Interestingly, when the honeymoon phase draws to a close, the couple might not have a place of their own just yet. In such cases, they opt for an arrangement that may seem unconventional to many – residing with their parents until they secure their own home.

Ideals Around Community Are Very Important Within Amish communities, the ethos of sharing and caring takes center stage. They exemplify this spirit through collective endeavors like barn-raising events and grand potluck gatherings. These potlucks bring everyone together, with each community member contributing a dish, creating a time for spirited social interaction. Yet, their commitment to collective welfare extends beyond the dinner table. In times of need, such as daunting medical bills, the Amish community rallies together, offering unwavering support. The staggering cost of healthcare, especially without insurance, doesn’t deter them from banding together to aid those facing financial hardships. A Community of Builders The Amish community thrives on the bedrock of unwavering solidarity and mutual support. Among their most cherished traditions is the construction of barns for fellow members in need. This endeavor becomes a rallying point, drawing active participation from every member, and it’s a beloved communal activity. Remarkably, the Amish possess a unique skill set, capable of crafting robust and enduring barns that stand the test of time. What sets their barn-raising efforts apart is the absence of electricity, power tools, or cranes. Every detail is painstakingly fashioned by hand, exemplifying their dedication to the act of service. The Difference Between the Amish and Mennonites One of the most common blunders made by outsiders, often referred to as the “English world,” is the confusion between Mennonites and Amish. In the Amish and Mennonite communities, mistakenly labeling a member as part of the other group can be deeply offensive. Although the Amish trace their roots back to the Mennonites, the two communities diverge significantly in their way of life. Mennonites adhere to a strictly Christian faith, and when compared to the Amish, they exhibit a markedly modern way of living. In contrast, the Amish follow a distinct version of their faith, characterized by an unwavering commitment to simplicity, devoid of modern technological conveniences. The Amish Have a Specific Dress Code As the photos vividly illustrate, the Amish community adheres to a strict dress code dictated by the tenets of the Ordnung. These rules serve as a blueprint for their attire, guiding them away from form-fitting garments and vibrant hues. Simplicity is key, with clothing crafted from unadorned materials, eschewing the use of hoods or sweatshirts. For Amish women, the guidelines are precise. Sleeves mustn’t be too short or translucent, and ruffles or low necklines are unnecessary. An apron or bib is a mandatory accessory. Men, on the other hand, primarily navigate rules related to facial hair alongside a particular hat choice. Interestingly, the rule book emphasizes that the hat should not be a “western cowboy-style” hat. Kids Stop Attending School in the 8th Grade In the context of today’s education landscape, the Amish approach may appear unconventional – they conclude their formal schooling at the eighth-grade level. Upon this milestone, young Amish girls embark on a distinctive journey, transitioning into roles as housekeepers and eagerly immersing themselves in the art of homemaking. For Amish boys, the path diverges. Upon completing eighth grade, they are expected to have a clear vision of their chosen vocation. In the Amish world, the classroom yields to the workshop, as their society revolves around hands-on learning and the acquisition of practical skills. They Learn Skills That Lead to a Functional Society As the Amish children wrap up their formal education at the eighth-grade level, a distinctive phase awaits them, resembling a vocational school of sorts. It’s a time when they eagerly embrace the opportunity to acquire a diverse range of skills, all with the overarching goal of becoming invaluable contributors to the tight-knit Amish society. Some may find their calling in the art of homemaking, while others are drawn to the craftsman’s bench or the world of carpentry. The spectrum of possibilities stretches far and wide, mirroring the intricate tapestry of roles that each Amish member eventually takes on within their cherished community. The Amish Do Not Have Churches Contrary to expectations, the Amish community doesn’t have elaborate church buildings. They prefer simplicity and believe opulent structures are unnecessary. They gather for religious services wherever they feel moved, be it beneath the setting sun or in a humble barn. The Amish’s unique approach to faith emphasizes simplicity in their worship spaces. They respect diverse beliefs and never impose their own convictions on others. Their philosophy is one firmly grounded in tolerance, embodying an enduring reverence for the diverse tapestry of beliefs that weaves the fabric of our world. The Significance of Romans 8:12 Deep within the heart of Amish life lies a profound sense of isolation from the broader society, and this intentional separation is firmly rooted in their faith. At the core of their beliefs, one scripture reigns supreme – Romans 8:12. This passage serves as their guiding star, urging them not to conform to the ways of the world beyond their close-knit community. Remarkably, the Amish have perfected the art of isolation, successfully shielding themselves from the influences of the external world. This foundational scripture, cherished for centuries, has steadfastly directed their way of life. With unwavering faith, they remain a thriving and resilient community, following the age-old wisdom of Romans 8:12. The Amish Use Modern Medicine While their rejection of electricity and most modern technologies is well-known, the Amish maintain a belief in the value of contemporary medicine. When needed, they don’t hesitate to seek medical care in modern offices or hospitals. Their reasoning is clear: no biblical decree exists against receiving medical treatment, allowing them to embrace this aspect of the modern world. Preferentially, the Amish gravitate towards holistic, homemade remedies, aligning with their cherished principles of simplicity and self-reliance. However, in times of urgency or when nature’s remedies prove insufficient, they willingly turn to medical professionals. It’s worth noting that the only exception to their acceptance of modern medicine lies in the realm of birth control, a practice staunchly opposed. As a Community, They Are Peaceful People Enlisting in the army is a prospect you won’t find any Amish individuals entertaining. The rigors of boot camp and the donning of uniforms hold no allure for them, for the Amish firmly reject the very concept of violence. Their innate pacifism has been a cornerstone of their way of life since their arrival in America. For the Amish, the paramount goal is to maintain peace – both within their close-knit community and in their interactions with the broader world. They steadfastly eschew the use of force against fellow human beings, going to great lengths to steer clear of any association with the military or warfare. Strength in Numbers Despite their insular lifestyle, the Amish population in the United States stands as a surprisingly robust community, often flying under the radar of mainstream attention. With over 325,000 individuals spread across 31 states, the Amish population not only endures but steadily grows. Interestingly, their geographical reach extends westward as they explore new horizons. Within this diverse community of 325,000, a clear distinction emerges between two distinct branches: the modern and the traditional. The modern Amish embrace select innovations, welcoming them into their tightly-knit society. In contrast, the traditionalists steadfastly resist the allure of technological advancements. Being the Youngest Child Holds Extra Significance Contrary to many cultural and religious norms where the eldest son claims the inheritance and garners the most praise, the Amish tradition takes an intriguing twist. In the Amish community, it is the youngest son who inherits the entirety of their parents’ legacy upon their passing. This unique practice is grounded in the belief that by the time parents reach the end of their earthly journey, their older children should have already established themselves and acquired what they need in life. It’s a system that, upon closer examination, reveals a logical and thoughtful approach to preserving their family’s values and resources for future generations Strict Rules When It Comes to Music While it may evoke sadness in many, the Amish way of life steadfastly adheres to a principle of minimal self-expression. In this tightly-knit community, playing or listening to music is strictly forbidden, a rule designed to deter the sin of pride from taking root. Yet, amid this prohibition, a ray of musical tradition persists in the form of German songs from the revered Ausbunch songbook. This ancient hymnal, devoid of musical notations, houses melodies that have traversed generations, transcending time itself. Though the original tunes have been lost to the annals of history, the enduring spirit of these hymns lives on.

The Amish and Wedding Dresses Within the tapestry of Amish wedding traditions, one of the most distinctive threads is the bride’s dress. It’s not a store-bought gown; instead, the bride herself meticulously sews it, following a specific rule: “Something old, something borrowed, something blue.” Interestingly, in the world of the Amish, nothing new finds its way into this cherished ensemble. What sets an Amish wedding dress apart from its conventional counterparts is its remarkable longevity and versatility. This dress donned on the wedding day, holds the promise of becoming the bride’s faithful Sunday attire for years to come. In a poignant twist, it also serves as her final garment, accompanying her on the journey to eternity. One Stop Shop

While the Amish community prides itself on self-sufficiency, there exists a notable exception to their rule of self-reliance. Within their insular world, where they meticulously craft and cultivate most of what they need, there is a singular outpost that connects them to the outside realm. This unique establishment allows the Amish to venture beyond their self-contained bubble. Here, they procure essentials like stationery and candles, items that elude their self-sustaining grasp. In this distinct store, the Amish find a bridge between their cherished way of life and the necessities they cannot cultivate or create with their own hands.


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