The Amish Way of Life in 62 PostsBy Jennifer Snow
When you think of modern life, you probably think of a fast-paced world filled with the latest technology. The Amish way of life is pretty much the opposite. Not only is the latest technology banned, but so are most of the earlier iterations – occasionally a phone with a cord is allowed but that’s about it.
Instead of engaging in a fast-paced world, they want to separate out into a slow-moving life. They don’t think they’re better than others, it’s just the way they want to live. They choose to be simple and humble in everything from the way they dress to the way they eat to the way they work. If you’re curious to learn more, take a look at the Amish facts below.
The “English” Outsiders
The Amish have a strong sense of who is Amish and who isn’t. Although they’re aware that people of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds exist, they tend to call all outsiders “the English.” It keeps things simple. If you’re not Amish, then you’re English.
The reasoning dates back to when the Amish first came to America. Much like today, they didn’t want to integrate into the larger society of English settlers and English speakers. So, they created their own habits and called the others “English.”
Some Amish Use Electricity
When most people think about the Amish culture, they think that electricity is forbidden. That’s not entirely true. There’s some leeway. Some ultra-conservative sects may follow that but most Amish people allow a bit of electricity if it’s necessary.
For example, if there are emergencies or particular kinds of work that require it, they will allow some use. Outside of that, they try to live by the ethic of “Gelassenheit”, a German word for “letting be.” That means not meddling with God’s creations too much.
Most Amish Teens Choose The Amish Life
When most people think of teenagers, they think of rebellious and rambunctious kids. Breaking rules is what they live for. The Amish lifestyle, in contrast, is all about following rules. So, how does that work?
Surprisingly well to be honest. Most teens have a “Rumspringa” where they leave the community to see what it’s like. The majority, however, decide to come back after a few years of outside living. When they do return, they get baptized and really strengthen their communal ties.
We saw from above that Amish people occasionally allow electricity to be used in times of emergency or work. However, they’re pretty strict with modern technology in most other circumstances. For example, you’re not going to find the latest iPhone – or even a decade-old smartphone – lying around.
That means selfies are off the table. Not only for the technology used, but also it goes against the ethic of humility. Cameras are forbidden as well. Their skepticism stretches all the way back to paintings, which are avoided.
Medical Treatment Is Allowed
Sure, the Amish live in a way that’s far different from your average American. They avoid technology and many other aspects of modern life. However, they aren’t entirely consistent. Although they adhere to strict ideals, they’re also practical people.
If you have a medical problem that won’t go away, then you’re allowed to see a doctor. In extreme cases, you’re even allowed to go to a hospital. However, they try to use natural remedies at first before visiting a doctor or hospital.
Mennonites and Amish
For most outsiders, the Mennonites and the Amish look the same. That’s not entirely wrong because they have a shared history. Both groups trace their history to the Anabaptist preacher Jacob Amman. Despite that, they still have plenty of differences.
For example, the Mennonites are more accepting of modern technology. They allow some use of tractors and battery-powered lights. Both groups also dress differently, albeit in a similar simple style. When it comes to baptism, both the Amish and Mennonites think that only adults should be baptized.
Some Amish Have Phones
As we saw above, the Amish try to live without technology. However, they allow some exceptions. Most of those exceptions are medical – seeing a doctor or getting to a hospital. One way to ensure that’s possible is to have a phone.
Not every family has one, but some are allowed to. However, there are rules for its usage. The phone has to be kept outside in a separate barn. It shouldn’t invade the family home. Secondly, be careful in how often you use it.
Amish Women Wear Wedding Dresses Weekly
A wedding dress is a big deal for any bride. This expensive and prized possession is something that most people only wear for one day – more accurately, a few hours of that one day. For the Amish, things are different.
Amish brides not only wear their dresses on their wedding day, but they also wear them every Sunday after that! With such an important dress, why only wear it once? When Amish women die, they get buried in the same dress.
Women Always Cover Their Heads
Covering your head is a big deal in Amish communities. Women are expected to always cover their heads. As you can see in the picture below, this usually comes in the form of a transparent prayer cap. If you always have your prayer cap on, then you’re always ready to pray.
When they’re at work, women typically wear grey aprons alongside their prayer caps. When at home, they generally go barefoot in the fields. At religious services, however, they put on stockings and black shoes.
Adults Get Baptized, Not Children
Most Christians get baptized when they’re babies. The Amish, however, find that custom a bit odd. How can you really understand what baptism is about if you can’t even speak? Instead, they wait until a baby grows into adulthood before baptism.
Young ones don’t have the maturity to make independent decisions or really understand what’s going on. In Amish communities, baptism occurs after a person has grown enough to make their own decisions and commitments. Usually, this happens between 16 and 24 years old.
Meidung Means, You Are Banished
It’s basically an Amish version of placing someone’s status on the “deadline”.
Amish never jokes with Ordnung and they take it extremely seriously and if someone derails, there will be consequences. One of them can be Meidung, meaning the community will avoid the person.
Teens Get To Experience The Outside World
Their Rumspringa can continue as long as they like. Amish teenagers are sent out to the world and allowed to experience non-Amish technology, and anything else that intrigues them.
Some return to their community after a week or so, but some remain in the real world for years before they realize they want to join Amish avowals. It can be a scary experience for them or a great one but in both cases, they learn from it.
You Can’t Date Until You Join the Church
It makes sense for the Amish to marry only the Amish because you need someone who will want to accept your faith.
In this case, you cannot date anyone who has not been baptized in the Amish Doctrine. You cannot even start dating until you are officially a member of the Amish community and dating is done in public places only.
1 In 5 American Puppy Mills Are Amish
The Amish community owns 20% of the US puppy mills. Dog breeding is a big measure of the Amish community. However, puppy mills were controversial even within the Amish community because of dog therapy.
When small dogs cannot be bred or sold as puppies, they would massively massacre them reportedly. Because dogs are considered as livestock by the Amish, they are not responsible for the violation of any law.
The treatment of dogs by Amish remains a topic of controversy.
Over 250,000 Amish people in the U.S.
In the 1700s earlier period, the Amish inhabitants in Europe (mainly Germany) began to immigrate to the New World. On their first arrival, they dwell in Pennsylvania, but now they are living in more than 28 other states.
There are more than 318,000 Amish people who live in the United States and the Amish country is, in reality, moving in the western direction! The Amish communities realize an annual growth rate of 3.6%.
Engagement Must Be Blessed By the Church
You cannot just get engaged and get married without having a say. Once the couple starts dating, it does not take long before they are engaged.
When the man proposes, both require approval from the Amish Church. Once they are blessed by the church, they are allowed to marry, and an advertisement is usually posted in the city newsletter.
No Birth Control
Whatever happens, happens and is what God wanted. The Amish do not have contraceptives in their community because they do not believe in them.
Having a big family is a big goal for them and being pregnant is a blessing from God. In fact, the Amish want to have as numerous children as conceivable. On average, a married couple has 5 to 7 children!
Amish Women Have Subservient Roles
Amish are very well-informed and still treat women as people who need a man in their lives to look after them.
Amish women are disallowed from being a bishop, preachers or deacons, implying that their only function is a housewife. The church, society and their families come first and this is what they need to cater to. They even permit their husbands to make decisions for them.
Singing To A Different Tune
But they sing songs in the church but not the kind you think. Their songs come from a German high school songwriter known as Ausbunch, which is considered the oldest hymn of the Protestant Church which is still used.
Songs do not contain musical notes and are simply ecclesiastical melodies transmitted from generation to generation.
The Honeymoon Continues…
After the first night as a couple in the house of the bride’s parents, they go to the next house.
The rest of the honeymoon is spent visiting relatives of each other as husband and wife. If they do not have their own home yet, they will live in the bride’s parents’ home until they can get their own home.
Amish Don’t Promote Their Faith
Many Christians actively promote their faith in an attempt to get others to join the fold. They knock on doors, deliver sermons on the street, and hand out bibles at charity events. The Amish, however, make no attempt to get others to join.
Instead, they prefer to live a secluded life focusing on their own community. Also, the bar for being Amish is pretty high. Alongside all the strict rules, you’d have to master Pennsylvania Dutch and abandon technology.
Rumspringa = Running Around
Talking about teenagers making a show of their disobedient side! Rumspringa, which literally translates to “running around” is a rite of track for Amish teenagers.
Stuck between the ages of 14 and 18, they are allowed to practice “English” life, as they refer to the social order outside the Amish realm. They do it because it will not be fair if they do not allow the Amish children to see what they will surrender when baptized.
No More School After the 8th Grade
Everyone is a high school dropout! Education is not as significant for the Amish as it is for the strangers.
You complete your education after completing the 8th grade and there is no secondary school. By then, men must have chosen a profession for life and women become housewives. I think learning algebra is not that important!
DNA Testing Is Illegal
This is why it is easy to marry your third cousin or someone who is involved in genes with you.
This is usually not something that he or she can understand and can verify it either. DNA testing is contrary to Amish rules. They believe that the marriage of relatives happens, it is the will of God. Better not think about it!
Men’s Facial Hair
If you see a man from Amish, you would probably have noticed his long beard but a clean-shaven face. Returning to the belief that they must live according to the plan of God’s creation, Amish does not shave their natural hair.
In contradiction to this, however, men are obligatory to shave their mustaches. This is because back in the 1800s, having a mustache represents wealth or probably you might be in the army.
Amish does not follow stylish avowals and the presence of a mustache may contradict their desire to be ordinary.
Community Barn Building
The Amish community is well-known (and well-regarded) for being, well, a community. People help each other out to a remarkable degree. This can be readily seen in the building of a barn. When a neighbor needs a new barn built, the entire community will roll up their sleeves, head on over, and help out.
Since the Amish eschew technology, they build the barn without modern electric tools. It’s a great example of their community ethos and the rule to “love thy neighbor.”
The Other Two Languages
In addition to German, they speak English and Pennsylvania Dutch.
In schools and businesses, English is used basically because this is the common language in the United States and sometimes you need to communicate with strangers. The Amish also communicate in Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a form of German, in everyday dealings.
Amish Are Against War
The Amish, like their famous neighbors the Quakers, are pacifists. They aren’t allowed to serve in the military and are against the use of military force. Instead, they prefer peace and focusing on their own communities. In general, Amish people rarely take part in the larger political realm.
Their pacifism and desire to avoid politics (and the modern world, really) is rooted in their beliefs. The Amish try to be in the world but not of the world. Avoiding war is one way to do that.
They Are Mutually Dependent On Each Other
The other reason they do not believe in using cars is that it will make them less dependent on the members of their community.
Amish communities are very close and everyone needs the help of each other. Their lifestyle favors neighbors in helping each other but if you have a car, you do not have to rely too much on your neighbor.
No Church Building
Sightseers will not find a good-looking stained-glass church anywhere in an Amish community! The Amish are not for flashy churches and cathedrals.
Actually, they believe that they do not need a church or something sophisticated because you can teach the Bible anywhere. In fact, this allows an Amish church service to take place almost anywhere, as you are about to see.
Amish Help Each Other Pay Medical Bills
While Amish accepts medical treatment, they still have no health insurance, and billing may be expensive.
Fortunately for them, if someone is sick in their community, they will all work together to help cover expenses. They will appoint a leader to handle the funding and will not stop until the bill is covered!
How To Be Accepted
If you want to convert to the Amish religion in full, there are a bunch of things you will need to do.
For beginners, you need to learn German and Pennsylvania Dutch. You need to adapt to a lifestyle without technology and leave all forbidden luxuries. No matter how hard you try, though, you can only turn out to be Amish if the church permits you.
Amish and Mennonites Are Not the Same
A common misconception about the Amish people is that they’re the same as the Mennonites. This, however, is wrong. Although they share an adherence to strict rules of dress and conduct, the two groups are different in important ways.
Chief among them is the use of technology. Whereas the Amish take a hard stance on technology, the Mennonites take a lighter stance that allows for automobiles and other luxuries. In general, Mennonites tend to be more integrated into the modern world.
They Divided Up Into the Old And New Order
In early 1862, there was a series of conferences over the years to discuss the place of the Amish people regarding the innovations of society and the work of the church.
The Amish progressives branched out, following a new modern order, while the Amish conservatives did not want anything to do with the new innovations. The old order is now called the Amish Mennonite Church of the Old Order.
Faceless Dolls Are Given to Kids
Amish children, like most children, are given toys to play with when they are young. Dolls in particular are very common. However, the Amish dolls differ from a doll you might find at a shopping mall in one crucial way: they don’t have faces.
Although that might sound creepy, it’s true. The dolls are faceless for two main reasons. One is that they’re homemade and it’s easier not to include eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Another is that it’s a lesson to children that appearances aren’t important.
Graves Are Dug By Hand
When it comes to entombment, the Amish must dig all their graves by hand. The reason behind this is that they look at the shovel as a piece of modern technology.
Therefore, it is forbidden to use the shovel, and it is only allowed to dig the graves with their hands – the old way.
They Speak Three Languages
Everyone in the Amish community speaks three languages, with their mother tongue language being German! When the Amish first settled in America, they pledged to bring their traditions from their homeland in Germany, including their mother tongue language.
This is why all their religious services in German and many of their fundamentals traditions are originated from a German word. What other two languages do they speak?
Honeymoon At the Bride’s Parent’s House!
How will you feel having a honeymoon in your parents’ home? The wedding night is usually a great night for the bride and new groom but not in Amish traditions!
The honeymoon will begin at the bride’s parents’ home so that they can clean their house the next morning as a way to express their gratitude.
The Amish Rarely Get Cancer
Amish may not have cancer treatment, but they certainly have knowledge of preventing it! Staying in the Amish community truly reduces your chances of getting cancer or other severe diseases/illnesses.
The reason is due to the fact that everything they eat is organic and it is self-grown. Also, there is no presence of alcohol or cigarettes; that is a huge plus, too.
Weddings Are Pretty Basic
Somewhat old, rather borrowed, to some degree blue but nil new. When a man proposes, he does not give his soon-to-be fiancée a diamond ring. It would be a sign of vanity.
In addition, the bride does not wear any jewelry or makeup at her wedding. She covers her hair and the wife-to-be wears a modest blue dress. The nuptial ceremony can last for hours and usually have a fall, a kind of romance!
The Amish Don’t Think They’re the Best
For the Amish people, being arrogant is a huge sin. You can see that in their choice to wear simple clothes and live a simple life – flashy goods and bragging is not for them. However, is their simple life a way to show they’re “better” than others?
Although outsiders might think that, the Amish themselves don’t. Part of the whole “don’t be arrogant” thing means they don’t assume their beliefs are the best. They’re simply content to live as they do and let others live how they want.
There Are No Arranged Marriages
Despite the thinking of people, the Amish do not force people to be involved in marriage.
If they have the option of joining the Amish Church or not, then, of course, they have the option of marrying who they want. There is no arranged marriage but only allows you to marry a certain type of person.
Since church services are not done in the church, it literally means that everywhere there can be a place for an Amish service.
The services of the church can be carried out outside or in their homes or where they consider it better on a given day. The services of the Amish church are very simple services without organs, altars, candles or other things that are normally found in a church!
Dating Involves Sharing A Bed One Night
Parents are trying to keep their children from sleeping with someone, but Amish let them! Well, they actually do not “sleep” with each other the way you think.
A segment of the dating procedures includes bundling, which is when a girl and boy will be sharing a bed one night. Both are fully dressed and separated but sleep side by side.
The bundling is supposed to enable the strengthening of the bond between them as they will stay up all night talking with each other.
Some Amish Allow Their Photo to Be Taken
Be careful when taking pictures if you see Amish walking or visiting an Amish community.
We know that Amish is not allowed to use cameras or even to have images of themselves, but there are also rules for other people to take pictures of yours. Some Amish categorically refuse to be photographed, but others agree provided they do not pose in photos or videos.
Clothes for Amish Men
It’s well-known that the Amish have strict rules about what they can and can’t wear. What’s less known is the details of those rules. For men, it means pants without zippers – they use buttons instead. Also, to keep their pants from falling, they use suspenders instead of belts.
This keeps things simple and uniform. Speaking of uniforms, the Amish men also avoid buttons and collars on their coats because it’s too similar to military uniforms, and the Amish are strong pacifists.
Simple Clothing Only
No one does any mall shopping anytime soon! Since much of the Amish philosophy is to avoid vanity and selfishness, they ensure equality in everyone.
This is why all the women wear the same simple dresses and the men are dressed in black trousers and a plain shirt. No jewelry, make-up, accessories (along with a Panama or bonnet), or decorations. Fundamentally, they are dressed in uniform 24/7.
Inbreeding Is Common
In a small community, you do not have many options for marriage which can lead to inbreeding.
No, the Amish do not deliberately marry their cousins but there is a great chance in the marriage of relatives. They dwell in small communities in Amish. Since you have to marry someone from the Amish, you do not have many choices.
Handle Crimes Internally
Because they positioned their church in front of the government, meaning they like to deal with problems of theirs directly. This is really something for which many people criticize the Amish faith because when a crime is committed, they do not always report it.
In general, they would prefer that their internal discipline in the church should take over the business and not the police, but sometimes report crimes if it is very serious.
They Do Shop
Shopping may seem like a futile thing but no matter which community you live in, it is inevitable.
Amish grows a lot of their food, but sometimes they need to buy something they cannot grow. In most Amish communities, there is at least one dry goods store where they can buy things like writing supplies, books, candles, etc.
No Music For the Amish
It may be obvious that the Amish have no iPods or listen to music on the radio, but they cannot make the music themselves too!
They are not permitted to play all sort of musical tools for this will be a kind of self-expression, which possibly will lead to pride. Contemplate on all those musicians and singers who believe that they are better than anyone else because of their God’s given gift!
Their Main Belief
There is a simple principle in which the Amish believe that it is like their golden rule. It is “Be not conformed to this world,” extracted from Romans 8:12 in the Bible.
This quote fundamentally means not being content with mundane things and that is what the Amish do by isolating themselves from the modern world.
When someone is officially excluded from the community, it basically means you are in the Bann and treatment will be given to you as a stranger. Depending on your “crime”, you can be excommunicated for days, weeks or even months.
As cruel as it may sound, the purpose is for the person to understand what they have done wrong and express regret for it. They surely do not make the same mistake again!
Teens Get Free Passes
Amish parents fully understand the rebellious side of teenagers! Just because you grew up in a secluded society without technology does not mean you will be an ideal teenager. Even Amish teenagers face problems and explore their rebellious side.
However, they do not face big consequences when they run into trouble because they get free passes. The Amish understand why teenagers are like this and hope that as long as they do not punish them, they will want to stay in society.
Where Does the Word “Amish” Come From?
The word “Amish” may sound odd to modern English ears. That’s partly because the origins of the word stretch back to Europe in the late 17th century. More specifically, to an area around Switzerland, Germany, and France.
At that time, the Anabaptist leader Jakob Ammann was spreading his popular (yet controversial) teachings. Eventually, these teachings led to a split in the Mennonite Anabaptist Church. Those who chose to follow Ammann became known as the “Amish” due to his last name.
Church And State Are Separate
One of the biggest disputes in historical fact is whether the church and the state should be separated or not, and the Amish accept as true they should be.
The word of God is much more significant to them than the rule of our government. That is why they reject the benefits of Social Security or public funds, do not swear and never engage in the military.
They likewise cast-off authority figures for the reason that the church is their only authority.
Amish Can’t Own Or Drive A Car
Cars are in the category of technology, so the Amish is not allowed to own or even drive a car.
However, they can have someone else driving them if it is for a social or business day out. The reason cars pose a threat to their lifestyle is that it can attract Amish to give up their faith because it gives them access to the outside world.
Property Goes To Youngest Son
In historical fact, to some degree properties usually goes to the eldest son, but that’s not what happens in the Amish families.
The property/farm of a family generally goes to the youngest male child, because when the parents are ready to retire, all the older children have already moved. Properties cannot go to the female child, though, reasons are that men are the winners of the family.
Amish Society Acts Like A Vocational School
Amish children need education until the 8th grade, but that does not mean they do not learn anything after that.
The whole community acts as a vocational school for them as they learn to do important work. They learn to be farmers, housewives, carpenters, and traders. It’s basically like a college for them because they know how to do a job later.
They Have A Book Of Rules
The Amish way of life comes with a strong set of rules telling you what you can and can’t do. It can be difficult to remember them all, so the Amish communities refer to the “Ordnung” book. The name of the book comes from the German word for order or discipline.
Alongside the Bible, the Ordnung is the most important book in Amish life. It provides a sense of order and discipline to their daily life. Breaking the rules is serious business and might lead to banishment.
Amish Love to Eat Together
As we saw from the barn building above, a close sense of community is essential to the Amish way of life. One way that is shown is through eating meals together. As you can see from the picture below, the Amish love their potlucks.
On a fairly regular basis, the Amish meet up for a big meal. Everyone brings a dish of their own and they sit, chat, and socialize in the fresh air. It’s a great way to catch up with neighbors and friends.
Outsiders Can Join The Community
Compared to other religions, the Amish religion does not give a sermon to strangers to join their faith, but they welcome people who will not like to join them.
Many of the outsiders actually convert to Amish doctrine, and even turn to be well-respected members of the Amish society! When someone desires to join, they will be attached to an Amish family for some time and participate in activities and homework.