The world we live in is in a constant state of change with new technologies popping up, attempting to make our lives easier. And while most people around the world embrace this way of life, the Amish refute it, choosing instead to go about their days the same way their ancestors did over 200 years ago. Although some may see the Amish's bubble-wrapped world as unrealistic, they seem to be doing it effortlessly.
There are lots of fascinating facts that you probably don't know about them. For example, do you know why some Amish men let their beards grow long while others are clean shaven? Or why the Amish children's dolls are faceless? Take a look at this list of 25 things the Amish do to keep their lives as simple as possible.
#1. The origin of the word "Amish"
Jakob Ammann was a Swiss Anabaptist from the Mennonite church. He is credited with the term "Amish." Ammann wanted the Bible to be interpreted literally and his views caused a division in the church with those who agreed with his way of thinking following him, thus creating the Amish fellowship.
#2. What is an Anabaptist?
Anabaptism has been defined as a branch of Protestantism. The sect opposes the practise of baptism on an infant. In fact, Anabaptists argue baptisms can only take place once the individual confesses his or her faith.
#3. Baptism and marriage
The Amish faith performs baptisms around the age of 18 to 22 years old. It is until the baptism is performed that the person is allowed to marry but only a person belonging to the same church.
#4. A stand against violence
The Amish are pacifists who refute violence of any kind. To further this belief, members are not allowed to join the military.
#5. Dolls without faces
If you ever get your hands on an Amish doll you will quickly discover they have no faces. This is done to dissuade members against vanity and pride.
#6. The period of Rumspringa
When teens turn 16 years old in the Amish community, they enter the period referred to as Rumspringa. The youth are allowed to go out and do regular things that would otherwise be forbidden in the community. This usually consists of going to the movies or taking a drive, although some have been known to drink and do drugs.
#7. The Amish population
The Amish arrived in North America in the early 1700's, settling mostly in Pennsylvania. Presently, over 300,000 Amish live in Canada and the United States with the latter spread over 28 states.
#8. The absence of music
Amish members are not taught to learn or play musical instruments, for the same reasons as the faceless dolls. Music is seen as a form of expression that leads to pride and a sense of superiority.
#9. The role of women
Amish women have the traditional role of being the homemaker with the standard tasks of cooking and cleaning the home.When out in public, the woman is expected to follow the man's lead.
#10. Practice of shunning people
The Amish exclude members of their community in the manner of shunning, therefore, keeping communication to a minimum. Another way is to shame the individual until he or she returns to the church after understanding and accepting their errors.
#11. Excommunicating a member.
The Amish have been known to excommunicate members which means the person is expelled from the community. The measure is so extreme that even parents are expected to cut off all forms of communications with their kids.
#12. No Automobiles
The Amish do not use vehicles. Instead, they rely on the old-fashioned horse and buggy. You can even find the street sign depicting this form of transportation. Members of the community depend on each other in their daily lives, therefore, a car would serve as a hindrance. If one owned a car, then that member would no longer need his fellow member's help.
#13. Going to church
The Amish came about as a fracture from the Mennonites resulting in their persecution. As a consequence, Anabaptists held their church services in their homes. Today, members take turn holding services in their homes.
#14. Raising the barn high
The Amish may be known for their horse and buggy as well as barn raising. The community holds barn raising as a form of festivity as well as way to get members to pitch in and help another member. Neighbors putting all their efforts together to help one another has become a pillar of Amish life.
#15. The popular beard
You just have to look at an Amish man in the face to know if he is married or not. Men have to grow their beards, not including the moustache, as soon as they marry.
#16. The church dress
Women sew their own wedding dresses which are used repeatedly after the wedding. Often times the dress is blue and is worn every Sunday to attend church.
#17. Political life
The Amish believe the word of God is above the rule of men. Nonetheless, this religious group also believes in the separation of church and state.
Children in the Amish community attend a one-room school in the church. Following that, the child is also put through vocational training where their family and members of the community teach the boys things like carpentry and farming.
The reasons for getting excommunicated by the Amish range from being in possession of a computer, consuming alcohol, and refusing to kneel at church.
#20. Saying no to evangelism
Unlike most Christians, the Amish do not take part in missionary work or evangelism where they seek converts to their faith.
The Amish refer to non-Amish as "English" people. The Amish for the most part are uncomfortable being around non-members, nonetheless, they seek to have a positive relationship with the outside world. The Lancaster Amish in Pennsylvania, allows tourists to visit their community and see their way of life.
#22. Modern medicine
Despite their humble lives, the Amish are not against modern medicine, in fact, it is used under serious circumstances. Generally, members do not have insurance, therefore, the community puts their money together to cover the patient's medical costs.
#23. Forget selfies
The Amish will often opt out of having their photo taken believing the picture is a fixed image. They make the exception to have their photo taken only if done in a natural setting as opposed to it being staged, and it cannot show their faces.
#24. High retention rates
Public Domain Pictures
The Amish community has an impressive 80% to 90% retention rate of their children. Add to this the fact that married couples have multiple kids contributes to the community doubling in size every 20 years.
#25. Converting to the Amish faith
It's not easy converting to the Amish faith. The interested party must learn the Pennsylvania German dialect in addition to leaving behind the luxuries of the modern world. The candidate will live with an Amish family and adopt the lifestyle and customs. After living in the more humble Amish way, the church members take a vote that will determine whether or not the individual is accepted as a full convert.