There is much more to the Amish way of life, their core values and experiences, that many of us never knew before.
Many people spend their lives following the rules of themselves, their parents, their beliefs or certain religious books – and it’s fair to say that the Amish are no different. They spend their lives following guidelines and rules, and these particular rules are contained in the Ordnung.
Although each Amish community follows its own Ordnung, they are all very similar in terms of what they expect of their people, and include a code of conduct so that each Amish person can live his or her life in a way that is right for him or her. In addition to the rules, the Ordnung also specifies punishments and consequences when someone in the community breaks them. For this reason, the Ordnung is extremely important in the Amish community.
Beard and bard
One of the defining characteristics of the Amish is the beard, but you may have noticed that younger Amish do not have beards. It turns out that you can tell a lot about a man by his beard – because the Ordnung lays out specific rules for this type of beard.
On his wedding day, an Amish man vows to grow a beard, and the rules dictate that he is not allowed to cut or trim it for the rest of his life. For this reason, younger, unmarried Amish men do not have beards, while it is easy to identify older men with longer beards who have been married for a long time. Mustaches, however, are not allowed.
Their own language
If you’ve ever communicated with a member of the Amish community, you’ve probably spoken to them in English. That’s because most of the Amish community learns the language from an early age, which means they are adept at talking to each other and to people outside their daily lives.
What you may not know is that many Amish communities in North America also have their own language, which they usually speak in the privacy of their own homes. This language, often referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch or Low German, is specific to the Amish. It is often considered outdated and old, but there is no doubt that there are thousands of Amish families who still speak Pennsylvania Dutch.
More content than style
These days, many people are experimenting with their style and fashion sense. They wear bright colors, bold patterns, and choose clothes in all shapes and sizes that show off their bodies in many ways. This is because in most communities, old-fashioned dress codes go out of style, but this is not the case for the Amish community.
Amish men and women who live in North America and beyond usually have to follow strict dress codes that emphasize modesty and humility. For this reason, it is much easier for them to adopt a simple style. Women usually wear dresses in muted colors and masks on their heads.
Living with technology
It has long been suggested that Amish communities live by candlelight and reject all technology, and while this is true of many families and towns, it is not true of all Amish. While it is generally accepted that they live a simple lifestyle, in many Amish communities technology can enrich their lives in many ways.
Some families opt for candles and old-fashioned cooking methods, while others have refrigerators hooked up to generators outside the home. This is also the case with construction – many Amish communities have opted to use propane-powered forklifts to help them on a daily basis.
Baptism or no baptism?
Each faith has its own rules and systems when it comes to inviting others to join. In the Christian faith, infants and young children are baptized at a young age, and then it is up to them to decide whether they want to continue that faith when they are older.
Things are a bit different in Amish communities, as they are Anabaptists. Although they adhere to a certain faction of Christianity, members of the Amish community prefer to let their children make their own decisions before baptism. For this reason, teenagers participate in Rumspringa, and if they return, they are baptized.
The infamous Rumspringa
If you have heard of the Rumspringa tradition, you may know that it is often viewed in a negative light. During this tradition, Amish teenagers can break out of their isolated and gated communities to explore big cities and the world outside their homes.
In this way, they hope to return home to their families and be more convinced of their faith than ever. Of course, there are some young Amish who engage in parties, drugs and other dangerous substances and ultimately do not return to their Amish communities. But that’s not always the case, and many find it a great way to cement their faith and their place in the Amish way of life.
Rumspringa youth groups
While many teens travel to faraway places for their Rumspringa adventures, there are also those who stay a bit closer to home. This is because many Amish communities form youth groups for those who want to take part in this period of reflection. Many people think that these youth groups are simply party groups that encourage debauchery and scandal, but this is not the case.
Most of them offer all sorts of traditional and recreational activities where teenagers and older teens play sports, develop their social skills and mingle while trying to find a husband or wife. Of course, there are also those that offer other activities, but there are very few of these in Amish communities.
Controversy among the Amish
Since the Amish community is isolated from the rest of the world and rarely makes headlines, it is easy to assume that they are law-abiding citizens who do not cause any drama. However, bad apples seem to pop up in every community – and the Amish community is no different.
In the 1990s, the Amish were called into question when it was discovered that two Amish men had been caught buying and selling illegal substances worth about $100,000. While many assumed they were selling them to people outside the Amish community, the controversy was sparked by the discovery that they were selling them within their own community. This caused people to view the Amish in a different light.
Keeping a secret
Many people around the world consider their children a blessing, and the same can be said of those who live in the Amish community. The Amish believe that children are the only treasures they can take with them to heaven, so young people are precious to them and they take care of them every day.
The situation is slightly different when it comes to talking about pregnancy. Amish women and men don’t talk about how a child was conceived, as it goes against their principles of modesty and humility – but it’s not the only thing they keep quiet about. Because children are considered a gift, they rarely mention the birth, the baby’s kicks or even the timing of the birth.
Everything is forgiven
Rumspringa is an important rite of passage for young people in the Amish community, as it is meant to solidify their place in the world and their faith as a whole. Many young Amish grow wings and enjoy a different lifestyle for a while, but then return to their families and their community without any scratches or changes in personality or beliefs.
However, it is not the same for everyone. Even if a young Amish man goes very crazy during his Rumspringa adventure, all will be forgiven when he returns to his parents and community. After all, they are the ones who made the decision to return, which gives them a get out of jail card.
Up close and personal
In Amish communities, relationships and marriages are extremely important. It’s rare to find Amish people who are single, but have you ever wondered how it is that these people even start dating in the first place? There seem to be certain rules to follow. The man always takes the initiative when it comes to courtship, and they are definitely long.
The process usually begins when the boys are in their teens or twenties, and the man shows his attraction by picking up his potential partner and her family from church on his horse and buggy. They then have to write to each other for a whole year before he can finally ask for her hand.
Ready to bond
Because the courtship process is so long and full of rules, you may be surprised to learn that Amish couples are allowed to sleep in the same bed before becoming husband and wife. It’s a tradition that has been going on for decades – but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Before the two get married, they have to go through a ‘Bundling’ process
It involves the couple being allowed to spend the night together and properly bundle up, but in a bed with a partition down the middle. The man and woman are not allowed to touch each other and must be fully clothed throughout the night. They do not sleep during the bonding process, but talk from dusk to dawn.
A simple wedding
At this point you should probably already know that Amish communities lead a simple life. They don’t lavish extravagance or things that aren’t necessary, and instead focus on what’s really important. This can be seen in their wedding ceremonies. In many other societies and cultures, weddings are a cause for celebration, and many people turn their ceremonies into gigantic parties that cost huge sums of money.
The Amish don’t think of weddings that way. They want their weddings to focus on the sanctity of the marriage rather than the day itself, so their weddings are simple. There is a casual dress code, no rings, and weddings are relatively small and closed.
Many people around the world consider secondary education a gift, and want to stay in it as long as possible to improve themselves and gain as much knowledge as possible about the world of education. However, things are different in Amish communities.
Almost all Amish live sustainably and spend their days growing crops or maintaining their homes, so they don’t believe that education is beneficial to them. Although their children attend school until the eighth grade, that grade marks the end of their adventure in education. From that point on, young boys learn to work with their hands, and young girls learn to take care of the house.
For their wedding, many Amish women sew their own wedding dresses. These are ordinary dresses in terms of modern fashion and style, but they are considered the best that an Amish woman can have. For this reason, women in the Amish community wear their wedding dresses to church every Sunday.
These gowns are usually blue in color, but women can choose the type of fabric and shade they want to wear. Then, instead of keeping the gown in a box for the rest of their lives, they make sure it will be put to good use on the most important day of the week. This is extremely important to the Amish community.
All about good deeds
Baptism is a huge part of many people’s faith, and this is especially true for the Amish and Christians. Not only do these two communities baptize their people at different times in their lives, but they also have different beliefs associated with this important day. For many Christians, baptism means a ticket to heaven without any restrictions.
During baptism, water washes away sins and allows one to stand in the presence of God. However, this is not what the Amish believe. While they believe that baptism is important, they also believe that they must be continually good throughout their lives. For this reason, they focus on doing good deeds every day.
In many countries and communities around the world, inheritance plays a huge role in passing on knowledge, money and security. It is often suggested that upon the death of parents, the eldest son inherits his father’s estate – and this is a rule that many families around the world follow. The Amish, however, like to proceed in a slightly different way.
In their eyes, the eldest son should have learned enough from his father before his death to know how to support the family and how to live. On the other hand, they believe that the youngest son will have problems not only with finances, but also with life experience. Therefore, everything is inherited by the youngest son in the family.
A healthier lifestyle
It has long been speculated that the use of technology in the modern world contributes to the deterioration of our health, and technology is often associated with higher cancer rates. While many have questioned this claim in the past, it appears that the Amish may be the link between this thought and reality.
This is because the Amish have an extremely low lifetime risk of cancer, and many attribute this to the fact that they make their own lives. They grow their own crops, raise their own animals for organic meat, prepare their own food and don’t surround themselves with technology. They are also very active and spend most of their day outdoors.
It’s never too late to apologize
The Amish try to live as perfectly as possible and strive to be law-abiding citizens every day. However, they realize that there are situations in which people can make a bad decision and make a mistake. In such cases, the Meidung order comes into play.
When the Amish break the rules, they have two options. Either he must admit his mistake and apologize to those he has wronged and the community at large, or he can ignore his actions and face the consequences. That consequence is rejection by the family and community, which means they must leave the Amish world.
Of course, there are many Amish who make mistakes – whether intentionally or knowingly. While many lawbreakers are dealt with within their own community, without outside forces such as the police, there are times when the authorities have to get involved. This happened in 2011, when police caught an Amish gang and sent them to jail.
The men found themselves at war with another Amish group and were concerned that these men were going against the traditional values of their community. To retaliate for these transgressions, the gang broke into the men’s homes and took out razors to shave their beards.
Exempt from conscription
Although you may never have thought about it before, there is a reason why you will never see someone from the Amish community working in the military. That’s because the Amish believe that violence solves nothing and reject war as such. Because of their beliefs, the U.S. government has honored their way of life and noted that they are exempt from any kind of military conscription.
This means that they will never fight on the front lines or use violence against other people because they were told to. Instead, they can continue to live a peaceful life away from all wars and tensions and not have to worry about being drafted.
We are all alike
Many Amish women spend their days cleaning houses, cooking for their husbands and children and making dolls. In fact, making dolls has become a great pastime for them – but they are not quite like the dolls we are used to seeing and playing with. This is because these dolls do not have any facial features.
While many suggest that this is simply a design flaw and something that was forgotten in the manufacturing process, the Amish will confirm that this is the way it was always meant to be. All Amish dolls are made without faces, as they demonstrate the fact that in their eyes all people are equal in the eyes of God.
It is easy to assume that the Amish community is small and isolated, but it appears that this is not the case. The first Amish community was founded in 1600, and while the community’s popularity grew first in Sweden, it has since spread around the world, with most Amish living in the United States.
What is amazing about these communities is that they are growing at an incredible rate. The Amish population has become one of the fastest growing populations on the planet, and its numbers are growing every year. Currently, there are an estimated 350,000 Amish living in the United States.
While the low risk of cancer is a true testament to Amish life, there is no doubt that they have other health problems. Sure, they spend their days in the sun and eat organic, homemade food – but there are often risks when you keep your community close.
It has been noted that the current Amish population is descended from the same 100 people, meaning that families have banded together. This is called the “founder effect,” and it has been suggested that because of this, many Amish live with undiagnosed genetic disorders. However, the Amish rarely go to doctors, so these conditions remain undiagnosed for most of their lives.
Every Sunday, Amish men and women go to church, where they sing hymns and carols that bring them closer to their faith. They love to sing these religious songs regularly, but there seems to be a limit to this kind of creativity and musical talent. This is because the Amish community does not allow anyone to practice or play instruments.
Learning to play such an instrument is considered too creative and too self-expressive, which is forbidden in such a humble environment. The Amish believe that all human beings are equal, and instruments suggest a sense of superiority in those who learn to play them. That’s why you won’t find any instruments in the Amish community.
Keeping it a secret
These days, we don’t have to wait long to find out that a couple has gotten engaged. They usually update their relationship status within minutes, and moments later post a picture of the ring on social media. For many, this becomes a celebration, but newly engaged couples in the Amish community have to keep their love a secret.
While they can tell their immediate family and parents about the engagement, they are not allowed to podziel sie tym the news after the question is popped. Instead, they must wait until four weeks before the big day and make the news public at a “going public” ceremony at their church. This is the only way this can be done.
Because their vows are so minimal and simple, it’s hard to imagine the newlyweds going on a honeymoon after their union. However, this seems to be the case. While modern non-Amish couples often go to exotic locations to lounge on the beach with their new husband or wife, Amish couples do things a little differently.
On their honeymoon, they travel to various Amish communities to visit their friends and family and celebrate their nuptials. Along the way, they receive gifts and try to spend time with their loved ones. It’s not the honeymoon most of us are used to, but it’s still a honeymoon.
The Amish follow the rules of the Bible and their own rules within the Ordnung, but there are some things that are not talked about within those guidelines. Such is the case with modern medicine, and there is no doubt that Amish communities in the United States and around the world are quite divided on the issue.
While some traditional Amish communities reject all forms of modern medicine because they believe it goes against their simple way of life, there are others who are more willing to give it a try. However, even if they wanted to use modern medicine, they would have to put up the money themselves, as they are not insured.
Many people outside the Amish community are under the impression that taking pictures of the Amish is forbidden, contrary to their principles and beliefs – and that’s not entirely true. There are still many Amish communities that don’t want you to take modern technology into their homes and use it to take pictures of them – and this is completely understandable.
However, there are other communities that are much more lenient when it comes to taking pictures. They know that people want to learn more about their lives, and some don’t mind being the main attraction of a photo shoot. Of course, you should never take photos without getting their permission first, as that would be rude.
Moving around the city
Nowadays, people get around their cities in different ways. They can drive, take the subway or even catch an Uber. These ways, however, are not available to the Amish and are not in line with their beliefs.
The Amish have been riding in their carriages for centuries and believe that horses and carts are the only things they need to get around their neighborhood. It is very rare to find Amish who own cars, as they tend to condemn modern vehicles as a whole. However, this does not mean that they will turn down an offer to ride in the back seat of a car.
Ruling the roost
For many people around the world, men and women are becoming more equal in many ways. Women are moving out of the “housewife” stereotype and into high positions, and more and more women are entering politics. We still have a long way to go before men and women are truly equal, but it looks like the Amish community is not about that kind of life.
Since the Amish are considered old-fashioned, it’s no surprise that they are the ones in charge, and their wives stay at home and do what they are told. They do this because they believe the Bible shows the differences between men and women and their roles in society.
While there is no doubt that sustainability in Amish communities must be celebrated, it seems that some people are not too happy with the way they live. Because the Amish grow their own food, raise their own animals and reject modern hygiene initiatives, much of their waste ends up in local streams and rivers.
Those who live near Amish communities complain that they pollute the natural world and have a negative impact on the environment. The situation has become so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency has had to ask the Amish to change their ways. Unfortunately, they have largely ignored these suggestions.
It’s always difficult to say goodbye to the people you love, so many people wonder what they want to be buried in. Some want to be buried in their best suit, while others want to be sure to wear their best clothes on that day. The Amish, however, have a different way of saying goodbye to the physical world.
Women not only wear their wedding dresses on their wedding day and during the Sunday service, but are also buried in them. That’s not all, however. Amish women are also buried with an apron over their wedding dress to preserve their modesty and humility even after they leave.
We have already learned that the Amish adhere to the principle that all people are equal, and even spend their days doing good deeds for each other to ensure that everyone around them is happy. However, it’s safe to say that they don’t think the same way about animals.
It is often suggested that the Amish do not treat their horses and other animals with the same respect as they do their humans. In fact, it has been repeatedly reported that the Amish mistreat their horses, don’t feed them enough and don’t milk their cows as often as they should. This often means they leave earlier than they should.
A terrible crime
Although Amish women rarely wear their hair down, if they did, we would notice that their hair is incredibly long. This is because in Amish communities, hair is one of the most sacred things that appears on the body. For this reason, Amish women are not allowed to cut their hair at all. They simply have to grow it from birth.
They often put their hair up in a bun so as not to cover their faces with long hair. Men are allowed to trim their hair so it doesn’t interfere with their daily activities, but they must shave their beards before tying the knot.
A separate life
Just as many people find the rules and lifestyle of the Amish rather strange, they think the same about people outside their community. Because they grow up in very protected communities, where they rarely have the opportunity to come into contact with other people who are not Amish, they often feel fear and discomfort toward these people.
They socialize only with people from the Amish community and stick to their own families and friends. When young people come to take part in Rumspringa, they often find it difficult to communicate with people who are not used to their lifestyle, and often have trouble making friends. Eventually, however, they learn to adapt.
Adding new people
There are many religions that actively seek to add new people to their offspring, sending them on missions to convert former non-believers to believers. For the Amish, it’s different – they don’t actively spend time trying to convert non-Amish people to join their faith.
Just because they don’t do this, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t people willing to join of their own free will. Although each year a small handful of people try to adopt the Amish lifestyle, acceptance rates are quite low. This is because each potential Amish person has to live in another family’s home for months to learn the rules.
Learning new languages
We have already learned that the Amish not only learn English at a young age, but are often fluent in their native language as well. However, it seems that these are not the only languages they learn during their lives. Although the Amish do not receive a full education, they are often recognized for their ability to be trilingual.
These people can usually be found in the state of Indiana, where there are many Amish communities. These people speak Swiss-Amish, as well as English and Pennsylvania Dutch, and often use all three languages when speaking to each other. That takes considerable skill and is something they should be proud of.
Although they largely keep to themselves, the Amish often hear what others think of them through the panhandle mail, and there seems to be one particular opinion with which they disagree. Although many people outside the Amish community believe that Amish women are oppressed by the fringe, they don’t agree with this at all.
In their eyes, taking care of the house, cooking meals and caring for children is one of the most important jobs any man can have, and they consider it a real honor for women to be able to do it successfully. Amish men respect their wives and daughters for taking care of them, to the dismay of others who look on.
All by hand
Saying goodbye to a family member, loved one or close friend in the community can be difficult, and it’s just as difficult for the Amish as it is for others around the world. Like many other communities, the Amish want to honor those who have passed away, and they make sure that their funeral and resting place is something that honors their lives.
However, the Amish also take care to stick to their beliefs during this time, so they dig all graves by hand, without the use of heavy machinery. As if that weren’t enough, they also weave coffins out of wood that they harvest themselves and then turn into a funeral coffin.
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