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.
When a child in an Amish family turns 16, they enter a limited time period called Rumspringa. During this time, the youth is allowed to go out and do things normally forbidden by the Amish community. Though more symbolic for some as they go to a movie theater or for a driving lesson, some have been known to consume drugs and alcohol.
The Amish, in numbers
The Amish first immigrated to North America in the early 1700’s, primarily settling down in Pennsylvania. Today, over 300,000 Amish people live in over 28 U.S. states and Canada.
Similar to the reasons for having faceless dolls, the Amish do not play any musical instruments, claiming they are a method of self-expression which would encourage pride and feelings of superiority.
An Amish woman's role
An Amish woman is primarily a homemaker, taking on a more traditional gender role including cooking, home management, and helping neighbors. In public, an Amish woman will generally follow her husband’s lead.
The Amish can exclude members in two different ways. The first, shunning, involves members of the community limiting contact with the transgressor to shame them back into the church and show them the errors of their ways.