The Amish are a not only known to be an isolated community; they also take their traditions very seriously. Ever wondered why the Amish only get married on Thursdays?! That’s our personal favorite story. Here are all the other insane things we managed to dig up on the Amish!
The Amish have a very strict set of rules when it comes to marriage. It must be done between the ages of 18 and 22, under complete church and community supervision. They have to write invitations and make their own dress.
Women sew their own wedding dresses
This is practiced in order to teach young women the virtues of hard work. On other days, they wear long skirts and traditional clothing. Every Sunday, for as long as they live, they are obliged to wear the church dress!
Picking up horse dung is blasphemy?
Headlines were made when a Kentucky-based Amish group refused to pick up their horse’s feces from the street. What’s more hilarious is that they threatened to counter-sue because they felt their religion was endangered.
Plain colors, little to no skin revealed and simplicity have been the staples of Amish clothing. The rule of clothing was created to promote humility, equality and staying further away from Earthly materialism. Makes sense when you think about it.
Electricity is a no-no
You’ll hear myths that say the real reason for this boycott is that they view electricity as Satanistic. This can’t be more bogus. They restrain for using anything electrical because they believe dependence on gadgets creates materialism.
Amish men are forbidden to wear mustaches, but required to grow their beards as long as they can. This is one of the staples of their tradition. You can’t do it whenever you want – the growing process starts after a man’s wedding.
Amish people living in the USA have their own language! It’s a very special and strange version of Low German from the 1700s and 1800s. It has its roots in the early German settlers and is still honed and taught today!
Children are taught within the community by its members and don’t have many options when it comes to continuing their education after the age of 14. They usually stay and work on a craft that might help the community as a whole.
No churches…only good deeds
Although they do worship the Lord every Sunday, the Amish don’t believe in churches and put an emphasis on privacy when communicating with God. Also, they are obliged to do at least one good deed each day!
Children aren’t being made to stay with the community. Freedom of choice is active, too! That’s what Rumspringa is – a chance for a young Amish to wander out of the community and get a taste of life so that he can decide whether to stay as an adult or not.
A false stereotype of arrogance
People often think that the Amish are arrogant and that they shove religion down your throat. That can’t be further from the truth, as they are some of the most peaceful and most hospitable societies on the entire planet!
Jakob Ammann – The creator of the Amish lifestyle
This Swiss Baptist created all the traditions and the requirements of the Amish faith and culture that we know today. Unlike today’s Amish, he was very arrogant and dismissive of all those who didn’t share the same value system he had.
Their numbers are on the rise and their houses are more and more beautiful
The Amish population grows very fast because of their tradition not to use contraceptive methods and have as many children as possible. Their houses are very clean, stable and can house up to 4 generations under one roof.
The life of Amish housewives
The Amish did receive a lot of criticism for the fact that women are basically dependent on the husband in their culture. When it comes to other forms of criticism, they also caught a lot of flack for not allowing their wives to work!
They aren’t allowed to join the police or the Army
This is not some preference, it’s according to their rules about avoiding all forms of violence and abuse. It also means that those acts are forbidden even when protecting your own soil. Also, they don’t even sue because they think monetary payments for crimes are futile.
Barn raising – Everyone comes together and builds
One of the most famous Amish traditions is this one right here. It’s an excellent way for the whole community to come together and help one another in building new homes. It still hasn’t changed, even after 300 years!
Faceless dolls for kids as a fight against individualism
Kids are taught from a young age that the community means strength and unity. That belief is so widespread that even the dolls don’t have faces. This removes the importance of superficiality and teaches kids to focus on being good men and women.
Photos are a no-no
The Amish are keen on living a quiet and private life. This means that most of them despise the notion of a photograph being a fixed image. Some of the accept photos, but only as a means to help the world learn more about their culture.
How does a modern Amish family look like?
Not much has changed over the years. Love, unity, and religion are still the priorities, but there are some communities who allow modern clothing, baseball caps, and even technology. It all depends on the subgroup of the Amish, too.
They even have their own computers
As they are keen businessmen, they realized that computers can indeed help in earning money. This one is a little different, as it has no internet, no video playing option nor any games. Strictly word processing, accounting, and spreadsheets!
A very peaceful group of people
In all Amish history, there has only been one recorded homicide. There is one crime that’s happening on the regular and that’s – drunk driving a horse driven carriage. People actually do it and it becomes hilarious after some time!
Amish drug lords
Yup, that’s also a thing. Abner Stoltzfus and Abner King Stoltzfus have been arrested and convicted for manufacturing drugs and selling them to Amish kids in the 90s in Pennsylvania. Now, an Amish version of Scarface would be awesome!
Gang violence amongst the Amish
Yes, you read that right. One group of Amish men had a feud with a rival gang and attacked them in order to shave their beards. A grown Amish men without a beard is frowned upon and this was a clear attack on dignity!
If you want to adopt a puppy, check a local Amish dog farm. They keep the dogs in big yards and keep them happy while they spontaneously breed. Everything is ethical and according to the law. In recent years, Amish animal rights activists are widely known.
They had their fair share of TV portrayals
There have been numerous shows where the Amish have been portrayed both as good and as bad. Most Amish don’t have a TV and those who do probably don’t care much about the opinions of outsiders, so it’s safe to say it’s irrelevant to them.
It’s a very esoteric and old rule, saved for only the worst criminals and those who have sinned against the Church the most. Basically, it means being banished from the community, forever and without exception.
Passing down property
Since there are a lot of children in the family, inheriting can get a little tricky. Unlike the rest of the world, the youngest brother gets everything once the parents die, while the older brothers study trade to be able to run the family business.
Devotion is a staple
Although the Amish are very religious, they are also very rational. They believe that the church and the state should be completely separate and that luxuries like churches and monasteries are excessive wealth.
This is the crucial element of everything the Amish stand for. This set of rules is used on every occasion and has an important legal role in the community. It has stayed unchanged for hundreds of years.
Separation of the church and state is very important to the Amish. This ensures a clean religious way of life, without meddling in politics and other sinful practices. Believe it or not, the Amish always pay their taxes and are very cooperative at all times.
The church songs
Yup, they believe that music is self-expression and that that notion stimulates the ego, which is bad for them. Anything they play or sing in church is taken from their old High German songbook, the Ausbund.
We can actually look up to them when it comes to this one. The Amish believe that overly mourning a dead person doesn’t cause anything but trouble. They also don’t employ ministers, expensive coffins or any festivities when someone dies.
Rules, rules, rules
Everything is regulated when it comes to the Amish. Women can’t wear jewelry and men can’t wear belts. Women also can’t become bishops or high-ranking church official. Umm, equality, guys?
Becoming one of them
It is possible. You only have to be fluent in Pennsylvanian Dutch and be willing to give up all the modern luxuries. The body which is trusted with making decisions about newcomers is the church committee. If they accept you, you’re in!
What about shopping?
Although most communities do have their own farmers markets and everything else, the Amish have no problem venturing to the local Walmart for supplies, as they make no different when it comes to the person who sells them the goods.
Mission to Amish People – MAP
Ever wondered what happens to the Amish who want to leave their communities and start a normal life? Well, this organization does just that. Any assistance they need and any help with growing accustomed with the real word is included in the program.
Fun as the Devil’s Playground
The Amish see fun as a way of wasting one’s time when there are more pressing matters at hand. When kids turn 16, they can get a taste of the American way of life, but even that is frowned upon by the elders.
A long history of migration
Amish roots are in 16th century Switzerland where reformers rebelled against the ban on self-baptism, so they decided to search for freedom. So they did in the 17th century in Pennsylvania, Ohio and the rest of the Midwest.
A healthy way of living
Given the fact that laying on the couch, smoking cigarettes and drinking are frowned upon, the Amish live fairly healthy lives in comparison to the rest of us. Regular fork and organic food also add to the equation.
The Amish are NOT Mennonites
People often mix these two groups because both are very oriented towards traditional values. Both groups have their beginning in the ideology of Anabaptism, but that’s about it. Don’t mix them, it’s insulting!
What about modern medicine?
The Amish, believe it or not, aren’t against modern medicine. When a community member gets sick, they rush to his or her help and do whatever it takes. Scientists have also found that their simple way of life leads to much lower disease rates than regular folks.
Do vaccines cause autism?
Dumbfounded advocates of the “vaccines cause autism” argument have stated that the Amish are an excellent example of their claim, because of a study conducted on the members of one county, where there are two autistic vaccinated kids. A mere coincidence, to say the least.
This is a unique invention that is often used by the Amish. It’s like a regular king sized bed, but with a wooden wall in the middle of it. This is to promote emotional intimacy, without the need for physical contact.
An alarming inbreeding problem
Given the fact that the Amish are a small community, there is a high chance that a couple gets married without knowing that they are close relatives. This leads to a series of problems, such as dwarfism and Down’s syndrome.
This is the name of an Anabaptist from Switzerland, who started the Amish movement and cause a lot of stir in the Christian community because of his radicalism and puritanism. Ammann – hence the name “Amish”.
A migrating nation
The first wave of Amish settlers came way back in the 18th century, with more to come in subsequent years. Pennsylvania was their landing spot, but they’ve stretched all across the present-day Midwest later on.
No to insurance and state benefits
Given the fact that they live in small communities, the Amish preach that union within people is the true salvation. That’s why they avoid getting insured or receiving any kind of help that may seem normal to the rest of us.
You can get excommunicated
Amish laws and rules are very serious and excommunication is seen often. The good news is that you can ask for forgiveness and return to abiding the Amish laws and everything can be back to normal. There is also indefinite excommunication.
Amish markets exist!
There are cases of Amish people opening up their own store in regular towns, just in order to sell the produce, they’ve grown that year. It’s an excellent way for everyone to eat organic and for the community to earn their own money.
They can shop wherever they want!
Even though the Amish grow food on their own farms, they are fans of good prices, so that they have no problem taking their carriage to Walmart and getting themselves what they need. Economic prices are a priority!
Children, at the age of 16, are forced to pack their bags and travel to the “normal” communities, in order to get a choice whether to remain Amish or leave indefinitely. Most, however, choose to stay.
They also never vote
This is true, believe it or not. An Amish law is taken seriously, whatever it may say. Many politicians have tried to persuade the Amish to vote, but they have refused vehemently because they don’t want to abandon their traditions.