If you have ever been to Pennsylvania then you must have surely come across the local Amish community. The Amish people are known for their intriguing and unique traits. They are also well-known for their simple living which involves a boycott of many latest technologies like the internet, media, and automobiles, etc. With the sort of background which we have known so far, I am sure that everyone will be excited to know more interesting facts about the Amish people. Like, Why are they staying away from technology? How do they live? What are their culture and rules? Do they party? In this article, we will cover at least ten such interesting facts about Amish which will unveil the truth of this community.
1. Amish Faceless Dolls
Though the Amish community is known for their fun-loving nature, their children are allowed to play with toys. But strange that all the dolls with which children play do not have faces. There are no specific explanations to the faceless dolls but many Amish says that as we all are equal in front of God, Hence, the doll without the face represents that we all are same to God. The other belief is derived from the Book of Deuteronomy which Amish interpreted as humans cannot create objects which resemble them hence the dolls without a face which otherwise would have resembled human beings.
2. No Personal Photos
It is for sure that you will never find a TV or any technical gadgets in the house of Amish. At the same time, you will be surprised to know that there will be no personal photographs or frames on the wall like a wedding or childhood pictures too. This is done because they feel that it violates many of their principles and belief.
They have various reasons for not having pictures at their houses. Firstly, they think pictures represent individuality and as Amish believes that all are equal in the eyes of God, they discard taking pictures. Secondly, the Amish community believes to be remembered as great contributors and the way they lead their lives and do not believe in depicting or appreciating physical appearance.
It is not that Amish people can’t appear in photos but they are not allowed to pose for pictures. So whenever you travel and tend to meet Amish people, do not ask them to pose for a click as they will not. Try to take the pictures of them with a blurred face of them and probably they don’t mind.
3. Deprived of Technology
Amish people are different from the other people in society because they do not adopt technology or imbibe it for the well being of their life. It is done in the belief that the technology might overtake their society and gradually Amish community will vanish from the planet. This is the only reason they stay away from music concerts, media, social gatherings, and the internet, etc.
You will be surprised to note that they do not consume electricity generated from utility lines but prefer solar panels or electricity generated through the battery.
Amish people do not avail of modern medical technologies also for the cure of their disease.
4. Less prone to Cancer, Diabetes and Cardiac Diseases
Though Amish people have a greater risk of genetic diseases but are less prone to major ailments like Cancer, Diabetes and Cardiac problems. This is mostly because of their lifestyle and eating habits. Amish community never encourages tobacco or alcohol and eat the vegetation which they cultivate themselves. They are physically very active and due to that, they are able to keep themselves fit.
Amish communities generally prefer living in rural areas which gives the benefit of having a pollution-free environment and helps get rid of ailments caused to pollutants.
5. Limited Education
As Amish lives on their own livelihood means, they do not give much importance to education. The study of Amish children comes to a dead end when they reach eighth grade. This culture is encouraged because Amish believe that they can earn and live using their hands without a requirement of education and higher studies. Amish women are mainly found taking care of their household work and family and do not tend to work outside.
Amish is not easy for all. That is the reason the community gives teenagers 16 years old a chance to experience the outer world and culture for a brief period called “Rumspringa.” Rumspringa is mostly undertaken by the male section of the society in comparison to the females. During this period the person is given all the freedom by their society and friends. As they are not baptized, they are not bound to follow the rules and regulations of the Church.
During Rumspringa the Amish people may do anything they wish. They may wear modern outfits, drive cars, watch movies, party hard and indulge themselves in sex and alcohol. After the completion of the Rumspringa period, the person has to choose whether they want to be baptized or not. If they chose to be baptized then they need to confess all their sins and after baptism, they can get married.
On the other hand, the ones who refuse to get baptized are asked to leave the community and lead their own life. But they are never stopped to communicate with their friends and relatives in Amish society.
7. Ausbund, Amish Songbook
Amish people are not allowed to play or listen to music which is outside their songbook called “Ausbund.” Ausbund does not contain any musical notes. The musical tunes are passed just like that through generations. The reason Amish not been allowed to play music is concerning. They consider it to be a mode of self-expression that may lead to a feeling of pride and superiority.
8. Amish Man’s Beard
When you visualize Amish men the immediate picture which comes to your mind would be of a man with a long beard. In the Amish community, men are told to grow their beards as soon as they get married and not allowed to trim or cut the same at any cost. Hence, longer the beard, the longer time he must have been married.
9. Amish Women Wedding Dress
Amish women sew their wedding dresses themselves. These dresses are not contemporary like others but very rather simple and of blue fabric. Surprising to note that in the Amish community, engaged couples are not allowed to share this secret with anyone other than their parents and immediate family.
Like other women after the wedding, they do not keep their wedding dress in the box for the rest of their life as they are required to wear this wedding dress every Sunday. It is a sad moment when it comes to someone’s demise. In the Amish community, women are buried in their wedding dress along with an apron. This is done to signify their love and emotional attachment to their wedding dress.
10. The Origin
The origin of the Amish community can be found in the Anabaptist movement which began during the year 1525. Amish do not believe in violence and are strong pacifists.
Amish believe in adult baptism as they don’t baptize babies. Adult baptism was against the law of catholicism and punishable by death. Hence, they were forced to practice the ritual in secrecy.
The oldest Anabaptists were lead by a catholic priest named Dutch-born Menno Simon and his followers. They were later known as Mennonites.
In the year 1677, a man named Jakob Ammann become part of Mennonites and gradually became the leader of Swiss Mennonites. Later in the year 1693, this swiss man Jakob Ammann included certain new rules which were very strict and orthodox. Later the people who followed Jakob Ammann and his rules and regulations became the Amish.
The aforesaid facts about Amish society and culture must have enlightened and encouraged you to plan a trip to Pennsylvania. The population of the Amish community is increasing rapidly ever since the Church was created in Switzerland where the large portion of Amish people settled initially. The Amish people are biased towards the role of women in society and tend to differentiate between men and women by wrongly interpreting the Bible.