45 Shocking Facts About The Amish Community That Will Make You See Them Differently
Most of us have probably heard about Amish communities and their less-than-modern lifestyles. These people are members of a Christian group in North America. Many of them lead entirely different lives than what we are familiar with, and we find this quite fascinating. This community lives without technology and electricity outside of the societal structures that we use daily.
Because of their lifestyle, many of us know very little about the ins and outs of the Amish community. Now, the Amish aren’t who you imagine them to be. And with inadequate knowledge, it’s hard to say what life is like for this group of people that have been around for centuries. So, irrespective of how we all feel and think about the Amish, here are 45 secrets and facts about this fascinating community.
This one is pretty obvious. Since the Amish stay far away from technology and the Internet, they do not have any social media accounts or apps that store their photos. That’s the secondary point. The main point is that they don’t use cameras.
Since they don’t use cameras, their memory is the only way to relive their old moments. They can keep journals and diaries, but taking pictures for keepsakes is not allowed. Instead, they remember special moments making their memory sharper.
No fixed marriages
Many people might think this community is built on arranged marriages. But, contrary to the belief, the Amish never force people to get involved in any marriage. But, they can marry whoever they want to if they have the option to join or not to join the Amish Church.
If they have the option of joining the Amish Church, then, of course, they have the option of marrying who they want. There aren’t any arranged marriages, but you can only match a certain person-type, not just anybody, according to your desires.
The Amish marry only the Amish. This doesn’t just go for Amish communities. There are other communities where marrying someone from the same neighborhood and lifestyle as yours is preferable since you share similar faiths, and it’s pretty sensible.
However, these rules are pretty strict in the Amish community. For starters, you can’t date someone who hasn’t been baptized in their doctrine. Dating is also a big no-no until you are a member of their community. Furthermore, dating is done only in public places.
The honeymoon period is probably the best experience right after marriage, right? Going to your favorite place with your beloved sounds so exciting! Now, what do you think about a honeymoon at your parents’ place? Don’t get weirded out since this is actually a part of the Amish tradition.
In the Amish community, the honeymoon starts at the house of the bride’s parents. It is done this way so that the bride’s parents can clean the house the following morning. This gesture is a way to express their gratitude.
Honeymoon traditions part 2
We just talked about honeymoon traditions in the Amish community, right? Well, here is some more interesting information about it. After the couple spends their first night at the bride’s parent’s house, they move on to the next relative’s home.
This is the remaining part of their honeymoon. Newly-wed Amish couples spend the rest of their honeymoons visiting relatives of each other’s parents. Also, if they don’t have a home, they will stay at the bride’s parents’ house till they get a home for themselves.
The Amish and the barns
Raising barns is one of the most common activities in the Amish community. So, if you’re there and your neighbor needs a shed for the winter, then worry no more. The Amish community will build a barn for them!
The community is always constructive in such situations. The collect fact about Amish barns is that they build them without any electrical equipment. So, imagine the crazy amount of effort that they put into it! These activities reflect their helpful and hard-working nature.
The secret to staying healthy
Since they live far away from technology and its advancements, the Amish do not have cancer treatments. Surprisingly, they have a lot of knowledge about preventing cancer! So, if you stay with them, your chances of getting cancer might drastically reduce!
The biggest reason for it is that they only eat organic and self-grown foods. Furthermore, there is no alcohol or cigarettes either. That’s a pretty huge benefit. Not only cancer, but they also know many ways of preventing other severe illnesses!
Irrespective of your race, color, country of origin, or daily calorie intake (just kidding), you are an outsider to the Amish. Now that’s true, but here’s the catch. Anybody other than the Amish is an English person, according to them.
So, even if you aren’t English, you actually are, for them. When the Amish first came to America, all the English-speakers were in contact with them. Since they don’t change their habits, they still call strangers the English people. They aren’t called Americans since the Amish are Americans as well.
No teen drama
This fact might come as a surprise, but Amish parents entirely understand teenagers and their rebellious tendencies. They did grow up in a secluded society, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be an ideal teen because they are teens! Even Amish teenagers face problems and explore their rebellious side.
There aren’t any vast consequences since they always get free passes. It is because their parents understand their behavior, and they think that as long as they don’t punish them, they’ll want to stay within the Amish community, which has worked quite well.
Outsiders are welcomed
The Amish definitely do not give a sermon to unknown people for joining them. However, they are pretty welcoming of the people who generally start the process of joining them. So, it’s a yes. Outsiders can indeed join the community.
In fact, many people actually convert to the Amish religion. Not only that, but with time, these people also turn out to be highly-respected members of their society. When somebody wants to join them, they’ll live with an Amish family for a while and participate in their activities.
Dating for children
Generally, parents try their best to keep their children from sleeping with somebody. But, it is very different in the Amish community since they let their children do that! It’s not what you’re thinking, though. The parents don’t let their children sleep with each other in “that way.”
They make their children do something called bundling, in which a girl and a boy share a bed for the night. However, they are completely dressed and separated, but still, they sleep side by side. This activity is supposed to strengthen their bond, as they’ll stay up late talking to each other.
Some people in the Amish community realize that sometimes they need electricity, unlike the conservative ones who never use electricity. However, these people use it only in emergencies, work, or other necessary areas. They try to live like the older generations, which is called Gelassenheit.
Gelassenheit is the German term for “letting be.” So, the Amish community uses this practice in their philosophy that our planet must only be used in the way God initially taught us. Therefore, no electricity is needed unless it’s an emergency.
Amish beards are different from the ones we usually see around us. If you see an Amish man, you’ll notice that they have a long beard but a clean-shaven face. It is because they think that they must live according to God’s plan, so they don’t shave their natural hair.
On the contrary, it is mandatory for men to shave their mustaches. You might say this contradicts what we just said, but here’s the reason. Back in the 19th century, sporting a mustache meant that the person was wealthy or in the army. So, a mustache contradicts their desire to be ordinary.
Options for teenagers
Honestly, it isn’t easy to imagine why teens choose the Amish life, but the truth is that they often do. At least the majority does. After something called a Rumspringa, where they start by segregating themselves from the community, they get a choice either to leave the community or stay.
Most of them choose to return to the Amish community. The teens get baptized shortly after their return. Some of them choose the other world and decide to stay away. But, it doesn’t mean that they can never return since they always have the option to come back.
No DNA testing
DNA testing is something Amish people don’t take into account. We aren’t even sure if they have the technology for it. Anyways, no DNA testing is supposed to be done, irrespective of all of that. It’s simple. This is why it is easy to marry your third cousin or someone who is actually a family member.
Therefore, marrying your cousins or somebody with similar genes seems to be better for them. DNA testing simply contradicts their beliefs. According to their longstanding beliefs, it is the will of God when a marriage of relatives occurs.
The Amish community is widely known for its sharing nature. They are such sharing people because it also shows caring! We must say, some of their values are pretty appreciable. Therefore, communal get-togethers involving food are one of the highly essential parts of the Amish community.
It is like a colossal potluck where everyone brings something to put on the table to eat. Also, these events are widespread. Also, it’s the ideal period for catching up with people. Young people take it as an opportunity to socialize, whereas men and women talk to each other.
No algebra lessons
Here is a rather-different fact about the Amish community. Everybody is a high school dropout! The Amish don’t consider academic education significant since it is not of value to them. So, there is no school for them after they pass the 8th grade.
Your education is complete after the 8th grade. There is no secondary school after you are done with the 8th grade. By this time, most men choose a profession for their life, and women go on to become housewives.
No new churches
If you go where the Amish live, you won’t find any flashy churches or cathedrals. It is because they aren’t really big on the fancy-looking stained-glass churches. Not only that, but their belief suggests something entirely different for them.
For starters, the Amish believe that they don’t need a church or anything sophisticated like that since it is possible to teach the Bible anywhere. That’s a pretty practical point. Also, this belief allows their church services to take place anywhere.
Since we talked about the Amish people not building new churches because of their beliefs, here is something even more interesting about it. Now, the church services aren’t done in churches, which means that the Amish can offer the services everywhere.
According to their preference, they can carry out these services right outside their homes or anywhere else. Also, these church services are pretty simple, unlike the ones we see. There are no candles, altars, or other things usually found in a church.
Their religion isn’t the best
We never said that. In fact, the Amish did. However, the Amish church demands a whole different lifestyle, including a change in how they practice worshipping Lord. They still think that the Amish do not have a better religion.
They will accept you for the things you believe and the things you don’t believe. The Amish couldn’t care less about your religion or religious beliefs, and arrogance is a sin for them, so they won’t say that their church is the best.
Children are indeed a blessing
According to the Amish, whatever happened, and whatever happens, is always according to what God wanted. In a way, that could mean that there is no point in preventing what’s about to happen, we guess. So, there aren’t any contraceptives in their community since it is contrary to their beliefs.
Also, having a huge family is their goal, which is why pregnancy is also considered a blessing from God. Not only that, but these people also want to have as many children as conceivable. It sounds a bit strange, but on average, an Amish couple has 5-7 kids!
The Amish community mainly speaks three languages. Although they live in the USA, guess what their mother tongue is? It is German! When they first settled in America, they vowed to bring their traditions from their homeland (Germany). Therefore, they speak German.
It is mainly why all their religious services are in German. Also, many of their traditions originated from there. What do you think? And, what are the other two languages which they speak? Try and figure it out. Don’t Google it!
We were just talking about the two languages that the Amish speak other than German. Apart from German, the Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch and, obviously, English. Pennsylvania Dutch is the primary language of the Amish and other Mennonite communities in the USA.
English is mainly taught in schools and used in businesses since it is the common language spoken in the USA, and sometimes, just sometimes, you need to communicate with strangers. Pennsylvania Dutch is a form of German, and they use this language for daily dealings.
Let us clear the confusion. Mennonites are not Amish. Although they wear the same hood, they aren’t Amish. It is only a class among the Mennonites. So, although they share some similarities, they aren’t in the same group. Don’t confuse them in front of them since they can take it as an insult.
The Mennonites belong to a Christian group, but they aren’t as staunch as the Amish community. In fact, the Mennonites don’t even isolate themselves. You’ll find them living in more modern civilizations. They drive cars and use modern tech, unlike the Amish.
The Amish also practice shunning. It is when you place someone on the deadline. The only difference is that it is the Amish version of shunning. Next time you hear “Meidung,” you know what it means in context.
Now, the Amish never joke with their Ordnung, which is the term for their set of rules. They take it pretty seriously, and there will be consequences when someone goes against it. Meidung is one of these consequences. Therefore, that person will be avoided.
Here’s a fun fact about Amish teens. Their Rumspringa, which we discussed earlier, can last for as long as they want to. They can explore the outer world and experience technology and everything that intrigues them during this period.
Now, some of the teens return to their community only after a week, but some stay for a considerably long time before they realize that they want to join the Amish again. Then, there are others who never come back. It is an amazing learning experience for them.
Rumspringa is a Pennsylvania Dutch term that translates to “running around,” which is something that every Amish teen gets to participate in. Now that’s a heck of a way to show them or put them in touch with their disobedient side!
During the tender ages of 14 and 18, the teens can practice the so-called English life (our lives). This event actually has a pretty deep meaning behind it. The Amish do it because, according to them, it will be unfair if they don’t let their kids see what they’re giving up when baptized.
Not so bizarre
Here is a bizarre fact that not many people know, which isn’t so weird when you think about it. Inbreeding is pretty common in the Amish. Now, their community is relatively small, so there aren’t many marriage options, thus, leading to inbreeding.
Yet, the Amish do not marry their cousins on purpose, but the chances of a marriage between relatives are pretty high. The choices are very few since you have to marry someone who is also from the Amish community.
We have usually seen almost everywhere over the world that the property of the person who recently passed away goes to the eldest son or daughter of that person. However, this situation isn’t exactly the same in Amish families.
In fact, the property, which is usually a farm, generally goes to the youngest male child in the house. It is because when the parents are about to retire, the older children have moved. They cannot go to the daughter because they believe that men are the breadwinners.
What’s with the faceless dolls?
Children of the Amish have a habit of playing with these dolls, so it’s not something that’ll make them feel uneasy. You see, Amish children are given toys to play with, but they are unlike the ones we all knew and loved during our childhood.
However, these toys can obviously make a stranger feel pretty uneasy. Also, they’re simple and made at home. They do not have faces because the Amish have to teach their young that appearance never matters. We find this very humbling.
Are they camera shy?
Some might be, but others aren’t. Some Amish indeed allow people to take their photos. But, you should be careful when taking pictures if you visit an Amish community or see someone from the community walking who looks interesting.
Although the Amish aren’t allowed to use cameras or even keep their pictures, there are rules for others who take pictures of them. For instance, some Amish refuse others to take their photos, but others agree. However, they don’t pose for them.
Existing without phones seems unimaginable today. We wonder how the Amish live without them. Here’s a little something you probably didn’t know. They understand its importance, especially when it’s an emergency. It is also the reason why some Amish communities allow phones.
But, these are only for emergencies, and they are allowed only between certain families. They also have a rather strange but understandable rule, which is that the phone can’t be in the house, and it must be kept in a barn or a shed.
After school activities
Although the world has contrasting opinions, the reality is that Amish children go to school only until the 8th grade. However, it does not mean that the Amish kids don’t learn anything after 8th grade. In fact, their society acts as a vocational school.
After 8th grade, the children learn to do all the essential work that the people of the society do. For starters, they learn about different professions they can take up. They learn to be farmers, traders, carpenters, and homemakers. It is almost like college for them.
The church or the state?
The debate on whether the church and the state should be separated has definitely been one of the most significant disputes in history. But, the Amish accepted it truly as it was supposed to be. The church is their only authority.
For the Amish, the word of God is more significant than anything else. It is also the reason why they go on to reject the advantages that the outer world has to offer. Apart from that, the Amish don’t swear, and as mentioned before, they don’t believe in the military.
The Amish church is in front of the government, which also means that they prefer dealing with their problems with a more direct approach. It is an issue for which the Amish are often criticized since they don’t always report crimes.
Generally, the Amish community prefers the people of their church should handle the whole crime-solving thing instead of the police. However, the Amish do report crimes sometimes, but only if it is something severe like death or robbery.
This fact is by far the most bothersome one because we can think of a life away from other people and modern tech, but we can’t think of a life without music! Obviously, they don’t have a radio or iPod for music, but they also cannot make music!
It is because they aren’t permitted to play musical instruments because, according to them, it’s an act of self-expression that could lead to pride. That’s quite a blow to the musicians and singers, and they said that. We didn’t! No offense.
No music, but not precisely that
Although there is no music, they still sing songs in the church. However, these aren’t what you think they are. Their songs come from Ausbunch, who is a German high school songwriter. He’s considered the oldest hymn-writer of the Protestant Church.
Unlike any song in the world, Amish songs do not have any musical notes. Instead, these songs are canonical melodies that are passed down from one generation to the other generation. Life without music is still difficult.
Getting engaged and married without a say isn’t really possible. It also won’t take long for a couple that starts dating to get engaged. Now, when the man proposes to the Amish, both parties require the Amish Church’s approval.
The couple is only allowed to marry once the church blesses the couple. Following the blessing, an advertisement is also posted in the city newsletter. We found the city newsletter advertisement post part pretty fascinating, but we don’t know if we’d want that kind of attention!
The Amish on peace
The answer is no. The Amish won’t be joining the army. At least not any time soon. It is because they are opposed to any type of violence. This particular belief system is similar to the Quakers in Pennsylvania.
The Amish are peace-loving people, and according to them, war is bad. So, they have more to do with keeping face, and they won’t use any method of violence or force. Because of this belief, the Amish community will do everything in their power to avoid the military.
Some cults in the world do not believe in medicines or treatment, but the Amish aren’t one of them. Although they stay away from modern technology and electricity, they receive medical treatment, which is an exception. They understand they need a professional in these instances.
Although they prefer natural treatment over a modern one, they’ll use it if they don’t have another option. So, if one of their own falls ill, they don’t hesitate to take them to the doc. If there is a life-threatening situation, they’ll also take the person to a hospital.
Things are pretty narrowed down in this community. From their lifestyles to their beliefs, there aren’t many complications. They follow one golden rule that is from Romans 8:12 in the Bible. It is, “Be not conformed to this world.”
This quote from the Bible means that one shouldn’t ever be content with dull things. The Amish community follows this principle very seriously. They do that by isolating themselves from modern tech and also from the outer world.
Since we have come so far, let us also clarify that the word Amish isn’t random. The word comes from Jakob Ammann, who was a follower of the Swiss Anabaptist church. He was a controversial Anabaptist, causing the split in the European Mennonite church through his teachings.
Ammann educated his followers and admirers to lead a humble lifestyle and to love their community. Most importantly, he told them to follow the Bible doctrines the way they were intended. He believed in not asking so many questions and following the doctoring as is.
During the early 18th century, the Amish community in Europe (mainly Germany) started flocking to the USA. Upon their arrival, they lived in Pennsylvania in small communities. Now, the Amish live in 28 other states other than Pennsylvania.
According to recent studies, there are around 344,670 people in the Amish community in the USA. This statistic also shows that they are indeed moving to the west with time! Also, if we calculate, the Amish communities are growing annually at a rate of 3.6%.
In the mid-19th century, multiple press conferences were held to discuss the position of the Amish community on the work for churches and other innovations in society. But, here is what happened after the discussions.
The progressives diversified and followed a more modern order, which was new back then. On the contrary, the more conservative people of the Amish community didn’t want to innovate things, thus, the old order. It is also called the Amish Mennonite Church of the Old Order.
The Amish and Mennonites
As mentioned earlier, the originator of the Amish was an Anabaptist, and there was a split between the communities. Thus, the Amish and the Mennonite. Now, the Amish have left the Mennonite church, while the Mennonite Anabaptists cling to the beliefs of the Amish Anabaptists.
Still, their values are significantly different. However, there are some similarities. For instance, both communities believe that baptism should happen during adulthood since children can’t decide by themselves. Their dresses are different, and one sharp difference is that the Mennonites are comparatively more tech-inclined.