24 Facts You Never Knew About The AmishNEXT »
Getting Cozy By The 2x4
Young Amish couples practice what is known as "bundling," sleeping in the same bed while remaining fully clothed. They also have to keep a giant board between them. How comfy!
Children Play With Faceless Dolls
Creepy or cute? Amish kiddos play with faceless dolls to discourage pride and vanity and encourage valuing people based on who they are, not how they look.
The Amish Have Lower Cancer Rates
Because the Amish live such a simple and restrictive way of life, their risk of getting cancer is much lower than the average person's. According to a study involving 26,000 individuals from Ohio, only 191 cancer cases were identified between 1996 and 2003.
The Custom Of 'Rumspringa'
Rumspringa, or "running around," is a rite of passage for the adolescent Amish. At this time, usually when one turns 16, the Amish are encouraged to experiment and explore the modern world before they commit to baptism. Some choose to leave forever.
Inbreeding Is The Norm
Because the Amish can only marry within their own community, the reality is that inbreeding is more likely than not. More than 50,000 Amish in Lancaster County, Pa can trace their lineage back to just 80 ancestors!
They Socialize By Building Barns
Building barns isn't just a way of life for Amish men, it's a time to socialize. Dozens will come together to show their selflessness and help a neighbor in need.
Strict Wedding Ceremonies
Most Amish weddings are held at the end of fall with a ceremony that lasts several hours. The bride typically dons a blue dress and is prohibited from wearing makeup or jewelry.
They Can Be Shunned From The Community
Shunning, or Meidung, is a common practice among the Amish. If an individual violates the Ordnung, their set of guidelines, they can be excommunicated and ordered to leave. Excommunication from the church and community can be temporary or permanent.
School Ends After 8th Grade
Part of being Amish is living a simple life with a simple mind, which is why education ends after 8th grade. Boys then begin to take up a trade, while girls fulfill their destinies of becoming housewives.
Musical Instruments Are Prohibited
Much like the reason they have faceless dolls (to discourage pride and vanity), the Amish are forbidden to play instruments. They can still play a rousing game of baseball though!
Their Bushy Beards Have Meaning
No man can pull off a beard like an Amish man can! But not every Amish man has a beard. They only grow them after marriage. And you can forget about mustaches - they're forbidden because of their association with the military.
Some Live With Modern Tech
Though it's believed the Amish strictly enforce the prohibition of modern technology, some allow it. Still, owning a phone or computer is grounds for excommunication in many communities.
Their Population Is Actually Growing
In the past 20 years, the Amish population has doubled. There were 179 settlements in the U.S. in 1990, and by 2012, a lead researcher of the issue counted a staggering 456.
They Hate Photographs
It's not uncommon to find "no photos please" signs hanging around Amish communities, as posed photos are seen as a way of showing one's pride. Others find photographs acceptable if they're taken in a candid setting.
Any Form Of Violence Is Rejected
The Amish are committed to a life on non-violence. Anyone who violates this practice is subject to be shunned from the community. They even oppose the military!
Baptism Happens From 16-24
The Amish aren't baptized until they're old enough to understand the faith it is they're choosing, so the commitment is made between the ages of 16-24.
Burned At The Stake
Amish history begins as early as the 16th century. As the practice of Anabaptism began to sweep Switzerland, authorities recognized the new movement as a threat. And so, many Amish were tortured, imprisoned, hung, or burned at the stake.
They Believe In 'Gelassenheit'
One important aspect of Amish life is Gelassenheit, the concept of letting be and submitting oneself to the will of God. They give up selfish thinking, remain reserved and modest, and structure their entire lives around embracing God's will.
Jakob Ammann Started It All
Jakob Ammann was the first to preach the Amish way of life. Not much is known about this Switzerland-born Anabaptist leader's teachings, but he was a firm disciplinarian whose viewpoints still hold up in Amish communities today.
The Dating Pool Is Shallow
Amish courtship traditionally begins at 16 for boys and 14-15 for girls. But because they're only allowed to date within their close-knit communities, options are limited.
Religion is translated into Amish daily living, but rather than focus on tangible symbols like churches, the community comes together to hold services in each other's home or shop.
They Speak Three Languages
Besides English, what they primarily speak, the Amish community also speaks in standard German and what is known as Pennsylvania Dutch.
No Bright Colors, No Jewelry
There's a reason why you don't see many Amish wearing vibrant clothing or accessories. To prevent vanity and boastfulness, the community dresses in modest apparel. Depending on the culture, some don't even use buttons because they're considered too flashy!
Traditional Gender Roles
Amish men are seen as the heads of households, always the ones who tend to farms and animals with unquestionable authority. Women are kept to the house to cook and clean - they're also viewed as submissive and should never voice their opinions on sexual matters.