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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The more serious charge – excommunication – is a total shutdown of contact with the person and a banishment from the community. Even parents must cut contact if their child has been excommunicated lest they are excommunicated themselves.
It’s generally a well-known Amish fact that members cannot use motorized vehicles such as cars. The Amish horse and buggy may even be the most commonly seen picture of Amish life. Since community members are mutually dependent on each other for survival, the speed and efficiency of a car is seen to undermine the need for a neighbor to ask another for help.
Since before the Amish’s founding as a splinter group from the Mennonites, Anabaptists were persecuted and thus held church services in their homes. A different member usually hosts the community with the host changing weekly.
Beyond the horse and buggy, Amish communities are widely known for the festive time known as a barn raising. Both an economic and social event, barn raisings are where the community comes together to build a barn for one of its members. The act typifies selflessness and neighbors helping neighbors, bedrocks of Amish culture.
The famous beard
Looking at an Amish man, you can tell if he’s married or not – just look at his beard. An Amish man begins growing his beard (though not his mustache – they’re not allowed) immediately after his wedding.