15 fascinating things you may not know about the Amish
You may have heard about the Amish, haven't you? They belong to a religious group famous for being extremely conservative - and members often form closed communities in which the use of technologies such as automobiles, electronics and even telephones is very restricted.
Another striking feature about the Amish is the way they dress: men wear hats and suits, and women in long, stern dresses and a hood over their heads. But apart from all these things we've described about them, what else do you know about this fascinating group? Not much? So, check out the interesting trivia we've gathered for you:
1 - Origin of Name
Amish Buggy Rides
The term "Amish" came from the name Jakob Amman, who was an Anabaptist Swiss - that is, defender of a radical arm of the Protestant Reformation - of the Mennonite Church, who struggled earnestly for the Bible to be interpreted literally. Because of their influence, there was a break between the radicals, and Amman's followers became known as Amish.
2 - Anabaptists
In the context of the Amish community, in addition to the Anabaptists belonging to a radical wing of the Protestant Reformation, they are against infant baptism. They believe that this ritual should be performed only when the Christian is able to accept his faith. Thus, generally, the Amish are baptized between the ages of 18 and 22, and only after that can they marry - and only to members of their own church, of course.
3 - Community
The Amish began arriving in the United States in the early 18th century and, at first, settled in Pennsylvania. Today there are communities in more than 28 - of the 50 - US states and Canada, and their membership totals over 300, 000.
4 - Cults
Since at first the Amish were persecuted by other Protestant groups, they had no specific space to hold their services. Followers of this religion met weekly in the homes of the faithful, and the custom continues to this day.
5 - Evangelization
Unlike other Christian groups that try to convert people to their faith, the Amish do not participate in missions or outreach to increase the number of believers. By the way, anyone who wants to convert first needs to learn the Amish dialect - which is derived from German - to abandon all the luxuries of modern life, to spend a season in the community and to be accepted by a vote.
6 - Pacifism
The Amish are radically against all forms of violence and because of this, members of the community do not join the Armed Forces of their countries.
7 - Faceless Dolls
It may seem a bit sinister, but Amish girls play with faceless dolls like the ones in the image above. The reason? According to their beliefs, faceless toys discourage vanity and pride.
8 - No musical instruments
Just as the Amish believe that ordinary dolls - with faces - can arouse vanity and pride, they understand that playing musical instruments, as a form of personal expression, can arouse the same feelings. As such, they prohibit the execution of songs.
9 - Rumspringa
This strange term refers to a period of “freedom” to which Amish adolescents are entitled when they reach 16 years of age. During Rumspringa, young people can do a number of things they would normally be prohibited from doing, such as going to the movies and learning to drive, for example - although some enjoy tasting alcohol and even drugs.
10 - Amish Women
Basically, women in the Amish communities are just housewives and are busy cooking, sewing, cleaning, organizing the home, and helping their neighbors. Also, in public places, they are almost always seen following their husbands.
11 - Amish Men
The Amish Clothesline
Men have a dominant role in communities, and it is possible to distinguish married from single because of their beard. But only by the beard, since mustaches are forbidden.
12 - Education
Children are literate in parochial schools by community members and later taught at home by their family members to perform activities related to agriculture and carpentry, for example.
13 - Punishments
Group members who do not walk the line can suffer severe consequences. Depending on the offense, offenders are isolated from other members of the community to feel embarrassed and return to the church - where their mistakes are pointed out.
However, if the misconduct is considered serious - and this includes sins such as having a computer, being caught drinking alcohol, and not kneeling during worship - the accused can be banned and expelled, and any contact with such persons. It is completely cut.
14 - Once Amish
Interestingly, despite being an incredibly conservative group with strict rules, it is estimated that between 80% and 90% of Amish children grow up and stay in the community.
15 - Construction of barns
One of the most iconic festivities of the Amish is the building of barns. On this occasion, the community gathers to build these structures for one of the group members, and the gesture serves to symbolize the act of personal detachment and the purpose of helping others.
* Posted on 12/04/2016