The Amish are one of the most closed and mysterious religious communities in North America and probably in the world at large. The culture and way of life of these “ordinary people” are surrounded by many mysteries.
Many books have been written about the Amish despite their isolation from the rest of society. They love to make movies about them, in which they are portrayed as quite bizarre. Amish culture endlessly fascinates outsiders. Their way of life is often misunderstood. There is much more behind all this than it seems at first glance …
Blue dress for the bride
People who choose their wedding attire usually don’t spare any effort, time, or money. As they say, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime grand event. In Amish culture, a married girl should look simple and modest even on such a day. The bride sews her dress, and it must always be blue. It becomes a woman’s Sunday dress for the rest of her life.
Misunderstanding of Rumspringa
The media has perverted this tradition beyond belief. Rumspringa is some initiation rite for a teenager to become a man; it is held in adulthood. Everyone, for some reason, thinks that it is the day to have a blast as an Amish boy. The youngsters have a real orgy with drugs and alcohol. That’s not the case.
During a typical Rumspringa, young people don’t even leave the house. After all, it’s just a transition from one age group to another. For the Amish, it is a way of getting to know other people.
During this period, they have to decide whether their life will be spent in the community or whether they will go out into the western world. During this time, young men decide whether or not to be baptized and can find a spouse.
Amish are not allowed to pose for pictures
It is repugnant to the Amish culture to pose for pictures. Humility is a very important virtue, and pride is seen as a potential threat to the harmony of their society. The Amish community also believes that the Bible condemns photography.
They have even found several passages that supposedly say so. Furthermore, they want people to remember them not for their appearance, but for their way of life and the good examples they leave behind.
This does not at all mean that the Amish are not allowed to be photographed at all. It is simply that it is forbidden to pose for it on purpose. If you politely frame your request, the Amish will never refuse if you ask to have their picture taken.
It’s OK to date
Young people usually meet at various youth or group events. There they begin to get interested in each other. Once they have met, they will date for about a year before getting engaged.
This whole period is strictly supervised. The couples are only allowed to see each other on weekends until they get married. Marriages in Amish communities usually take place between the ages of 18 and 22.
The Amish can drive cars
Amish culture involves a variety of sects. Some of them are allowed to own a car. For example, the Amish Scourges and the Amish Mennonites are allowed to drive cars.
These groups practice the same religion as the Amish but relax in their stringent rules. Especially where modern technology is concerned.
The beard begins to grow after Rumspringa
After the decision to stay in the community and be baptized has been made, the Amish begin to grow a beard. After they get married, they stop shaving altogether. They don’t shave their beards; they shave off their mustaches.
They consider a mustache to be a sin and a beard to be a biblical commandment. The Amish do not like mustaches because soldiers who brutalized and abused the Amish people wore mustaches everywhere during colonial times.
Schooling ends in the eighth grade
According to Amish tradition, children stop attending school after completing eighth grade. This is because the boys and girls are old enough to start helping out on the farm or doing other work. After all, they need to help their families.
They pay taxes like everyone else in the USA
Many people think that Amish communities do not pay taxes. This is completely untrue. The Amish are careful to follow the same tax laws as income tax, sales tax, property tax, and all local taxes. The only thing they are exempt from is social security payments.
The Amish must not play instruments or even listen to music
No musical instruments and no music! This is probably the most challenging thing about Amish culture. All singing is supposed to be a capella. They sing only in church. They have only their songs from their special church book.
They celebrate Christmas like the Orthodox.
The Amish do not celebrate Christmas on the last week of December but on January 6. They consider this day to be more important because it was then that the little Jesus was visited by three wise men who gave him their gifts. Baptism in the community usually takes place twelve days after Christmas.
There is usually a family feast with traditional Amish baked goods. These are the tastiest cinnamon rolls in the world, according to those who have tried them.
The Amish have their language as well as mobile phones
They speak their special dialect. It is usually terribly distorted in films. The Amish are bilingual. They speak what is called Dutch or “Lower German,” which is German-Swiss-English. It’s a uniquely rural accent, matching the way they speak English. And yes, most Amish have a mobile phone. They use it when they are away or for business purposes.
The Amish are simply obsessed with softball
The Amish love sports. They play basketball, volleyball, and softball. Most teenagers are in great athletic shape because of this. If they decide to go to college, they do amazing things in track and field. The Amish even hold major softball tournaments.