One of the best-known religious minority groups in the world, the Amish are a fascinating people and culture. Renowned for their traditional lifestyles, they live more simply than most of us, often focusing on farming and crafts while worshiping God based on a tradition split off from the Mennonites a few centuries ago. Over the past few years, the television channel TLC has made various shows showcasing Amish youth and has given the world an insight to a culture which generally opposes photography and the presence of outsiders. Despite some modern changes (accepted by only some sects) such as inside flush toilets and one telephone for the community, the Amish have done a remarkable job keeping to their traditional ways. There are loads of interesting facts about them you may not know. For instance, did you know the Amish primarily speak their own dialect of German (known as Pennsylvania Dutch, a bastardization of the word for German – “Deutsch” – in German)? How about why some Amish men have long beards while others are clean shaven? Or why they only allow faceless dolls and reject cars and other modern machinery? Read on to find out these and more about the Amish people in this list of 25 Things You Might Not Know About the Amish.
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Origin of "Amish"
The term “Amish” is derived from the name of Jakob Ammann, a Swiss Anabaptist in the Mennonite church who strongly advocated for a literal interpretation of the Bible. His ideas caused a schism in the church and the followers who sided with him were thus known as Amish.
What's an Anabaptist?
Anabaptism is sometimes considered to be a sect of Protestantism known for its opposition and refusal to baptize an infant. Anabaptists believe baptism should only be done once one is able to willingly confess their faith.
Baptism and marriage
Baptism in the Amish faith happens most often between 18-22 years old. Until this happens, the person is not permitted to marry and when they do marry, it must be to another church member.
Strict pacifists, the Amish reject any form of violence. To this aim, Amish members do not participate in the military.
The faceless dolls
Take a look at an Amish doll (if you can find one) and you’ll see it has no face. The faceless dolls are believed to deter against pride and vanity.