Facts About The Amish That You Didn’t Know
The Amish have a long and cherished history in the United States. For most Americans, there really isn’t that much that we know about the Amish. There are plenty of parodies about Amish culture and their lifestyle, but those things are far from the reality. If you were to study the Amish, you’d discover new and shocking things about their lifestyle that you didn’t know.
Through this list, you’ll discover some interesting things about the Amish. You’ll learn about their weddings, their customs and a few odd things that might surprise you.
The facts about the Amish in this list are fascinating. Some of these you may have heard before, but chances are that this if the first time that you are learning the harsh truth about the Amish.
Dolls With No Faces
Amish children, much like children from all around the world, play with dolls. However, there is one noticeable difference — the Amish dolls have no faces. The reason for this is religious — they believe that all people are equal in God’s eyes and that vanity is sinful. Therefore, having a face on a doll would be in violation of their religious customs. If you were to try to search for Amish dolls in a major toy store, you would probably be out of luck. Most major modern toy stores do not carry Amish dolls. In order to get your hands on these odd toys, you’d have to shop in a toy store owned by the Amish, or maybe you can get one online.
A Boring Wedding Night
Picture the typical wedding night in modern society. Well, it turns out that the Amish do things a bit different in that way .In addition to having a low-key wedding, Amish couples typically have an equally boring wedding night. Unlike a traditional wedding night in modern society, Amish couples typically spend the night at the bride’s parent’s house just talking. And they usually stay there until the following day. It can seem a bit odd to do this after a wedding, but there is a reason for it. This ritual helps preserve the foundation of family, which is important to the Amish. Therefore, it might be a boring wedding night, but it is actually a very important one for them.
In modern society, most newly engaged couples love to announce their upcoming weddings. The Amish, on the other hand, keep engagements a secret. They continue to do this until just a few weeks until the wedding. At that point, the Amish then tell everyone in their community — usually during a religious service.
Hand Delivered Wedding Invitations
If you’re expecting your Amish friends to mail you their wedding invitation, then guess again. This goes against the Amish culture. Instead, the Amish personally hand deliver invitations to each of their guests. It’s certainly a nice personal touch. The only question remains: Do the Amish hand out thank you notes after the wedding?
Not Your Normal Wedding Celebration
Most wedding celebrations are an opportunity for family and friends to celebrate the happy union of the newly married couple. But for the Amish, the wedding reception has a different purpose: To match single men and women for future marriages. In some cases, single guests are given assigned seating so that they can meet their future spouse.
While many Christians tend to go through Baptism as a child, the Amish do things a little different. Since they are an Anabaptist group, they believe in Adult Baptism. This essentially means that adult Amish people get baptized on a voluntary basis. They follow this procedure because, according to the bible, Jesus was an adult when he was baptized.
Around the time Amish children turn 16, they participate in a special ritual known as Rumspringa. During this time, Amish teens are actually encouraged to leave their communities and to experiment as they wish. This rite of passage for Amish youth includes breaking their religious rules. It can also include experiments with alcohol, sex or drugs.
Although it is forbidden to have premarital sex, Amish couples that are about to get married participate in a bed courtship process. This usually involves the couple being fully dressed and talking all night with no touching. In some communities, there is an actual board that is placed between the couple for the night.
They Hand Dig Their Graves
When it comes to burials, the Amish must dig up all of their graves by hand. The reason behind this is because they view the shovel as a piece of modern technology. Thus, it is forbidden that they use a shovel, and they are only allowed to dig graves with their hands — which is the old fashioned way.
There’s No Church Building
Unlike other forms of Christianity, the Amish do not have a formal church building for the entire community. Instead, each Amish town is broken up into precincts and members hold services at either their own home or their neighbor’s home. It may sound like an odd way to hold services, but it makes the religious aspect easier for the community — and they don’t have to build a separate church. It reinforces the importance of having religion in their homes.
They Practice Shunning
When an individual violates the rules of the Amish community, they are shunned. This process, known as Meidung, is a type of social avoidance that is meant to solidify commitment to their religion. This form of banishment is typically considered to be a last resort.
If You Like It Don’t Put A Ring On It
Jewelry in general is frowned upon in the Amish community because it encourages pride. That is why married couples will not wear any wedding rings. In general, Amish weddings are low-key, so lacking a ring makes perfect sense.
Be Fruitful and Multiply
Although the average American family has about two to three children, the Amish kick things up a notch. The average Amish family has about six to seven children. There are cases of Amish families having nine or more children. More kids means more people to work on the farms.
Their Entire Rules Are Unwritten
Despite having a set of rules and regulations that Amish strictly live by, they don’t have those rules written down. These rules, known officially as Ordnung, are in place to help the Amish embrace a truly spiritual life. The rules include everything from clothing to work to praying. And none of the rules are on an official document. Instead, the rules are more like norms that people memorize.
There’s a reason why not too many Amish people are winning Grammy awards. They are forbidden from playing musical instruments. The reason is because they are opposed to any form of self-expression, which includes most of the arts. With that being said, there are some Amish people who play the harmonica.
One Old Book of Music
Although the Amish do not play musical instruments, they are big fans of the Ausbund. This is a 16th century German song book with all hymnals. It also happens to be the oldest Christian song book in existence. Among the Amish, it might be one of the most popular books that they own — second to the Bible of course.
It Grows On You
Beards are a staple in the Amish community. It is for married men and for any man over the age of 40. Mustaches, however, are usually not included because they are often associated with the military of the 19th century.
Junior High School Is High School
Once an Amish student finishes the 8th grade, that’s it. There is no high school, and certainly no college at all. At that point, when the child is about 14 years old, they can begin working in the family business. The Amish are legally exempt from compulsory education laws.
The Teachers Aren’t That Bright
In addition to having school end at 8th grade, the actual teachers in Amish schools lack a formal secondary education. That is because the Amish teachers themselves only completed the 8th grade. In addition, all of the schools are mostly one classroom. Yes — teachers with an 8th grade education teaching students who will only receive an 8th grade education.
They Can Get an Uber
As a general rule, the Amish do not own or drive automobiles. They are allowed to use them for specific business reasons, but otherwise that’s it. However, they are allowed to be in cars when someone else is driving — which includes cabs.
Shop Until You Drop
While the Amish prefer to shop at stores within their own communities, they also will shop at stores in modern society. It wouldn’t be too uncommon to see Amish people visit a local grocery superstore like Walmart. Obviously, they are not going to shop at a malls with lots of technology, but other places are not out of the question.
They Are Not Mennonites
The Amish are often confused by people as being part of the Mennonites, but they are a different religion altogether. They are both Anabaptist sects, but there are many differences between both groups. The Mennonites are more likely to embrace technology.
It turns out that about one out of every five puppy mills in the U.S. are owned by Amish people. Dog farming is a big part of the Amish community. With that being said, puppy mills have been controversial, even within the Amish community because of the treatment of the dogs.
Where the Amish Come From
The Amish can trace their heritage all the way back to the 16th century in Switzerland. A group of Christians, later known as the Anabaptists, formed their own belief systems. Years later, these people immigrated to the United States, and the rest is history.
Getting Kicked Out
It turns out that the Amish can banish their own members for nearly any type of violation. Cases of being shunned by the Amish include drinking alcohol, swearing, using technology or refusing to kneel during a service. And members would have to repent in order for the community to welcome them back in.
The Amish distaste of science goes well beyond just technology. They don’t believe heavily as a community in the importance of teaching science in school. They also don’t believe in modern medical science, which means that medical situations are different. Some Amish people will visit a doctor, and others may not.
No Health Insurance? No Problem!
The Amish do not have health insurance — and they are exempt from any laws related to health insurance. Likewise, since they don’t have health insurance, this could present a problem. The good news is that the Amish tend to work together as a community. They pool together resources for health funds to ensure that everyone gets proper treatment.
Less Likely to Get Cancer
One benefit of the Amish lifestyle: They are less likely to develop harmful diseases such as cancer. Part of the reason behind this is because the food that the Amish consume are less likely to be processed and more likely to be organic. Genetics might also play a role as well.
The Role of Women
Women in the Amish community have it rough to say the least. As a result of a gender roles, women are often confined to being mothers and homemakers. Sometimes, their opinions go unheard. And there have been allegations of sexual abuse for Amish women. With that being said, there are some Amish women who are business owners.
That Skirt Is Too Short
Amish women are confined to wear certain types of outfits like skirts, shirts with long sleeves and no jewelry or makeup. In addition, some Amish communities enforce even stricter rules that force women to maintain a skirt of a specific length. If a skirt does not met those requirements, a woman may not be able to wear it.
A Global Tongue
Most Amish people are bilingual because they at least know two languages — English and Pennsylvania Dutch. And sometimes, they also learn German as well. That means that the average Amish person probably knows more languages than the average American.
A Safe Haven
Generally speaking, most Amish communities are generally peaceful with little violence around. While many Amish people do carry guns, overall gun violence in Amish communities is minimal. The Amish are so peaceful that they do not have to serve in the military. Additionally, Amish men are exempt from having to sign up for the military draft. It goes back to their religious beliefs that favor pacifism.
Raise the Roof
Barns are an essential part of the Amish lifestyle, but raising the barn’s roof is also very special. Centuries ago, it become common practice for the entire Amish community to assist with the raising of the barn’s roof. This was a good opportunity to work together as a community. In recent years, the practice has slightly declined in popularity.
No Photos, Please
In addition to not using modern photography, the Amish generally do not like it when tourists take pictures of them. It is part of their religious beliefs that photographs are “graven” and thus should be avoided. Some Amish people might let you take a photograph of them if their faces are not in it, but generally they do not want to be photographed.
This Ain’t Your Land
In modern society, the eldest child — sometimes just the eldest son — is usually first in line to inherit valuables after a parent dies. With the Amish die, they take things in different direction. Since land is so valuable to them, they pass it down to the younger sons and not the older sons.
Joining the Amish
While basically anyone is allowed to become Amish, they have some strict rules for new recruits. The rules include leaving modern society and learning their language. In addition, you must also work in the community and attend services. Even if you follow all of these rules and more, the community could technically still reject you.
They Do Use Some Technology
Although there are any Amish people who still reject most modern technology, there are some Amish people who do not see them as threat to their beliefs. For example, there have been reported cases of Amish people who solar panels or diesel powered laundry machines in their houses. It all depends on how strict their community is.
Getting Right to the Point
In the Amish community, courtship begins when they are just teenagers. If there is an interest in marriage, they typically date for a few months. But then they soon get married after barely dating each other.
A Population Expansion
Thanks in part to their larger family sizes, the Amish are experiencing an incredible growth in population. In 1992, there were about 128,000 Amish people in the United States. By 2018, that number had ballooned up to 318,000. The state with the most Amish people is Pennsylvania, followed by Ohio and Indiana respectively.
A Growing Issue
Because of the Amish having so many offspring, their population is expected to increase at a higher rate than the rest of the U.S. population. About every two decades, the number of Amish people doubles. That means in the future, there might be twice as many Amish communities around the country.