Even though they’re mostly synonymous with Pennsylvania, the Amish may today be found in 31 U.S. states, as well as two Canadian provinces. Despite their wide geographical dispersal, however, all Amish can trace their lineage to a single religious group in Switzerland, founded in 1693 by Jakob Ammann, who gave the Amish their name.
The Amish are famous for many things, such as their decision to not use modern technology, but one thing they’re not necessarily known for is their hygiene. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this particular aspect of Amish life, and we’re here to clear them up, as we reveal the real hygiene and health practices of people who often don’t have indoor plumbing.
Indoor plumbing is prohibited for some Amish
While some Amish have completely modern plumbing, and sometimes even pampering walk-in showers, others stick to the old ways. One such group is the Swartzentruber Amish, a highly conservative sect. All Amish communities live by their Ordnung (German for “order” or “discipline”), which is the set of rules that govern all aspects of their life, big or small.
In the Swartzentruber’s case, their Ordnung expressly prohibits indoor plumbing. That means no running water in sinks or bathtubs, and yes, no toilets either. Does that mean the Swartzentruber, or other traditional sects, are all filthy? Not even a bit.
Life without running water
When NASA explores other planets, the first thing they look for is water, as it’s presumed to be the foremost condition for life. The same holds true on Earth, so how do the Amish live without running water? Pretty simple – more or less like our ancestors did before modern plumbing.
Sects like the Swartzentruber have water cisterns, which collect rainwater that are then used for the dishes, laundry, and bathing. Drinking water, meanwhile, more usually come from wells. And when the men are out working, it’s the women who have the physically-intensive labor of drawing that water.
Bathing isn’t optional – but it’s not our bathing either
“Alright,” some of you may be thinking, “but considering how hard taking a bath is without running water, the Amish probably do that a lot less, right?” Well, yes and no. Yes, no indoor plumbing means having to find other solutions, but bathing and cleanliness are just as important to them as they are to us.
More conservative Amish boil some water on a wood-burning stove and fill their bathtubs with it, with the children going first and the father going last with a freshly-filled tub. Still, sects like the Swartzentruber only bathe twice a week, even in summertime.
Down but not out in the outhouse
Time to address the elephant in the room… The bathroom, that is – toilets. Many Amish homes DO have indoor plumbing nowadays, with water being pumped by gas-powered engines instead of electricity. Nevertheless, stricter communities like Swartzentruber Amish refuse to adopt modern plumbing.
In the case of toilets, that means using outhouses. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean just a hole cut into a board – “modern” outhouses may sport pretty comfy seating arrangements. Still, Amish life can be a bit paradoxical, with some Swiss Amish living in Indiana residing in expensive brick homes but still using outhouses.
Waste not, want not – literally
For us city folk, waste management isn’t something that ever crosses our minds. After all, we simply flush when we’re done and that’s the end of that. We neither know nor care to know what happens afterwards. Conservative Amish, on the other hand, don’t enjoy that privilege.
Outhouses get full, and when they do they need to be emptied. Ever practical thinkers, some Amish simply remove the waste and plow it into their fields as fertilizer. This practice has gotten them into trouble with authorities, however, as objections were raised to plowing raw sewage into the soil.
Creating household cleaning products from scratch
The popular image of the Amish involves them living self-sufficient lives, down to churning their own butter. In the 21st century, that’s become increasingly inaccurate, as Amish are known to frequent big-box retailers like Walmart.
However, that doesn’t mean that some Amish aren’t still maintaining the old ways, used for centuries in the U.S. and elsewhere, especially when it comes to cleaning products. One Amish recipe, for example, calls for mixing rubbing spirits with rain water to create a window cleaner. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are also popular for use as cleaning products.
The realities of Amish laundry
The Amish view children as a gift from God, so they have a lot of them! In fact, some families have up to ten little ones running around, and that means A LOT of laundry. However, the Amish mostly shun modern electronics, so washing machines are out.
Instead, some still use old school washboards, while others use wringer washers, which were popular in the 1950s. To power the wringers, a diesel generator is used, circumventing the need to hook up to a power grid. As for detergents, commercial products are used sometimes, but some Amish prefer homemade lye soap.
Clothes are only hung up to dry
After laundry comes the drying. Naturally, electric clothes dryers aren’t used. Thankfully, the simplest solutions are sometimes the best. Just like our great-grandparents did before the invention of the modern tumble dryer in the 1930s, the Amish use clotheslines. Laundry is often hung on a traditional T-line, but sometimes more elaborate setups are used.
For example, one Amishman invented a spool that allows a line of clothes to be strung from somewhere near the house to a tree or the side of a barn, which is a huge space-saving measure for people who often find space scarce. In wintertime, clothes are hung under overhangs or in enclosed porches.
The Amish are enthusiastic locavores
Despite their image as people who live in seclusion from the outside world, the Amish aren’t such a rare sight at supermarkets. Some Amish even treat themselves to restaurants! Nevertheless, Amish culture values the ability and commitment to self-sufficiency, which means growing your own food.
Despite the fact that most Amish no longer farm for a living, most still do grow food for themselves. Anything from sweet corn, onions, and potatoes to watermelons and grapes may be found on Amish homesteads. That also allows them to can food and save it for winter. Many Amish also have egg-laying hens, and cattle and pigs for slaughter.
Undergarments are apparently a no-no
Everyone’s been thinking this – do the Amish wear underwear? Hey, it’s a matter of personal hygiene as much as anything. Well, to answer that we need to realize that the Amish can be broadly categorized into four groups: Beachy, New Order, Old Order, and Swartzentruber.
The first three are perfectly fine with off-the-shelf Fruit of the Looms, but the hardline Swartzentruber’s stance is a little more complex. Basically, neither men nor women are allowed to buy underwear, as their elastic band holds them too close to the skin. Instead, the Swartzentruber Amish wear loose-fitting, homemade underwear held up by a drawstring.
Home births and birth centers are extremely popular
For the “English,” as the Amish call anyone who isn’t them, giving birth is a monumental, extraordinary occasion. For the Amish, it’s a Tuesday. Kidding aside, with kids reaching double digits, Amish birth is more or less a seasonal event. It’s not that they don’t treasure new additions – it’s that they’re pros.
As such, they know what they like, and Amish women overwhelmingly prefer giving birth either at home or at special birthing centers. The problem is, of course, maintaining proper hygienic standards, something that isn’t always possible away from a hospital. Nevertheless, the Amish put their trust in God, and continue the practice undaunted.
Some Amish refuse to follow modern hygiene standards, costing themselves money
Anyone who thinks that the Amish’s life in a bubble doesn’t come with a very real price tag should reconsider. As a result of their self-imposed limitations, certain Amish sects have limited their own earning potential. We’ll focus on the conservative Swartzentrubers.
Not only do their shops not use electricity from the grid, but they don’t use pneumatic or hydraulic power either, instead resorting to line shaft technology that went extinct in the early 20th century. Swartzentrubers don’t adhere to modern hygiene food standards either – since they don’t use cooling tanks for their milk, they can only sell it for cheese-making, fetching a lower price.
Amish devotion to doing the Dew
The other big earthly vice – adult beverages – is a little more mainstream in Amish culture. Unlike Mormons, who explicitly prohibit the consumption of spirits, with the Amish it comes down to community standards and personal preference.
New Order Amish are completely against it, for example, while the Old Order groups aren’t uniform in their opinion. Regardless, drinking problems almost don’t exist among Amish adults – unless you count Mountain Dew. Despite their objects to what they call “worldly” customs, soda, and the Dew in particular, are very popular among the Amish.
Some Amish love raw milk so much it landed them on trial
Traditionalists to the bone, many Amish dairy farmers prefer their milk raw – as in bottled straight from the cow, without pasteurization or homogenization. Unfortunately for them, the selling of raw milk is a very complicated affair, legally speaking, with a multitude of categories and differing state-level laws.
The Amish claim raw milk is simply better for you than the stuff you find in supermarkets, but the FDA says it’s dangerous and “should never be consumed.” Amish farmers refuse to buckle, however, which has actually led to Federal sting operations and arrests.
Amish generally ban the use of public electricity
Sure, using vacuum cleaners or washing machines could make life so much easier for the Amish, who do plenty of intensive physical labor as it is. But is living on Easy Street really our purpose in this world? The Amish don’t think so. Some might think they’re modern-day cavemen, who view electricity as “evil.” That’s entirely not true.
Many Amish sects use machinery in work and home life – they’re simply not connected to the public power grid the rest of us are. Why? Because relying too much on public power would tie them too directly to outside influences, thereby threatening their way of life and religious devotion.
Keeping food refrigerated
Whether for their own consumption or the food and drinks they make to sell, all Amish face the same problem at one point or another – refrigeration. Obviously, no perishables keep forever, but their shelf life is shortened dramatically when they’re not properly cooled. To solve the problem, some use gas-powered fridges – specially made or adapted from standard ones.
The more conservative Amish, though, once again paint themselves into a corner here, and have to rely on old-fashioned iceboxes. The ice is either delivered to them – or they cut it out of frozen ponds in wintertime.
The reason Amish men don’t sport mustaches
Let’s talk facial hair. After all, it’s one of the first thing anyone notices about Amish men. So why do Amish rock long, ZZ Top-type beards, only without mustaches? As for beards, Leviticus specifically tells men not to shave, so Amish men pay homage to their biblical forebears that way. Mustaches, on the other hand, are shaven for two reasons.
The first one concerns hygiene, but that’s minor. The big reason is Amish belief in nonresistance – avoiding confrontation in all areas of life. Since mustaches were synonymous with 19th-century military service – soldiers were required to grow them – Amish shave them.
Why some Amish have healthier teeth than ours
As recently as the mid-1980s, a majority of Amish – two out of three, to be precise – said they didn’t brush their teeth every day. The vast majority, meanwhile, said they didn’t floss at all. Despite these facts, the study found something extraordinary – the Amish had fewer cavities and a lower rate of gum disease compared to the general American population.
How’s that possible? Well, the Amish of the era followed a much healthier diet with few sweet snacks, so they suffered half as many cavities. Of course, times have since changed, and now Amish face a particular dental problem.
Pulling teeth – even healthy ones
Despite their best efforts, some aspects of modern life have managed to worm their way into the Amish home. One of those, unfortunately, is over-consumption of sugar, and with that naturally came dental problems. Some Amish, especially more conservative groups, have a… peculiar approach to dental care.
Local dentists, some of whom may be enthusiastic but untrained, simply yank out rotten teeth. Extraction is simply a cheap and convenient solution – so much so that sometimes even healthy teeth are pulled to avoid having to deal with them later! This is the reason many conservative Amish – even youths – wear dentures.
Some Amish women are barred from shaving their legs
The Amish Ordnung, the guidelines that shepherd the Amish along through life, remains unwritten. It’s been described as an “oral map” that regulates all aspects of their life, both public and private. “The people just know it, that’s all,” one Amishman explained.
Beyond the obvious stuff, though, like no public electricity or divorce, the Ordnung also helps the Amish live better Christian lives, or so they believe, free of vanity and the trappings of modern conceits. The ultra-conservative Schwartzentruber community’s Ordnung, for example, forbids women to shave their legs or underarms, or cut their hair.
Some Amish men are barred from using deodorant
Before any lady readers get up in arms about these restrictions imposed on Amish women, you should also consider that men are under them as well. We discuss the beard-but-no-mustache thing elsewhere, so let’s focus on other stuff.
Amish men are allowed to cut their hair, but it must be done straight and left covering the ears. Regarding other personal hygiene, some Amish men are barred from using any type of deodorant or shaving lotion. Now imagine how ripe they must get after a long day of tilling the fields in the middle of August…
Amish can pretty much everything
If it exists, the Amish will can it. Many of us eat canned foods, like beans, corn, and pickles, but few of us actually rely on them as much as the Amish do. Many Amish, even those who don’t farm commercially, have sprawling gardens that yield beautiful fruits and veggies.
But what good are they come wintertime when you don’t have a fridge? Canning is therefore a year-round activity for many Amish, with fruits and vegetables canned in the summer and fall and meat in the winter, leaving their basements looking like they’re ready for the apocalypse.
Amish had a surprising affinity for faith healing
Even knowing just the bare minimum about the Amish, you’d think they’re the most practical, grounded people in America. No time for flights of fancy or nonsense, right? Well, while that may generally be true, some sects did employ… unique methods of treatment in the past. “Brauche,” also known as “pow-wow,” was a form of faith healing that used to be pretty common among Amish.
Based on healing by touch, this practice also involved spells and charms and would often see the healer “pull out” aches and other ailments from the body. Today, brauche’s popularity has fallen and some even consider it witchcraft.
Amish-grown produce isn’t necessarily better
Farming, as far as the Amish are concerned (even those who don’t actually do any), is the ideal occupation. It allows families to work together, and fathers to work from home, while maintaining biblical customs and work ethic. The Amish are so synonymous with farming, in fact, that many Americans consequently assume Amish produce is organic.
Not only is the majority of it not, but most Amish farmers use the exact same fertilizers and pesticides as “mainstream” farmers to boost crop yields and eliminate pests. Some Amish have gone organic, simply because the money’s better, but most haven’t.
Amish and the pandemic
There’s no escaping it – 2020 is the year of the pandemic, and there are very few places that haven’t been affected. But how badly have the Amish been hit, considering merely washing your hands is a complicated chore? Well, apparently, while there’s still no irrefutable evidence that they’re contracting COVID-19 at higher rates than other Americans, there are some signs that they might be.
Beyond that, Amish customs are problematic, pandemic-wise. When there’s a funeral, for example, the entire church sits with the family for one or two full days. Coupled with longstanding aversion to hospitals, and the Amish might have a problem.
Amish women generally don’t wear makeup
While not necessarily hygiene in the narrowest sense, grooming is a huge part of not only how we look but also how we feel. External appearance influences the way the world perceives us – and the Amish are all too aware of that. In fact, according to the Amish cosmetics use leads to vanity.
Amish women, therefore, wear neither makeup nor jewelry. The only exception is teen girls, who sometimes wear makeup during Rumspringa – but only because they’re not yet official members of the church. For the Amish, what counts is inner beauty, which stems from leading a Christian life.
The Amish are Plain Joes and Janes
The Amish, and the Mennonites from which they separated, are known collectively as “the plain people.” Usually, “plain” isn’t exactly an adjective that’s used as a compliment, but the Amish wear it as a badge of honor. To them, living a plain life is the ultimate sign of Christian virtue. And part of living that lifestyle is their choice of dress.
To them, plain clothes symbolize modesty and practicality – and discourage things like jealousy. Amish women, then, wear long, solid-colored, and long-sleeved dresses with head coverings, while men wear black suits and coats without collars, lapels, pockets or zippers.
All about Amish dining etiquette
While work, play, and school have brought many American families to rarely eat together, the Amish are a breed apart. Even though they might eat in shifts – adults first, children second – if there’s a huge gathering, Amish mealtime is family time. Still, meals are a little different than what most Americans are used to.
First, many Amish homes don’t use napkins. Instead, there’s a communal dampened rag, but even that rarely gets used. Secondly, rarely does anyone leave the table during the meal and lastly, they don’t use plates so much as something resembling flattened cereal bowls.
The Amish finish every last speck of food from their plates
Any “English” invited to an Amish home for a meal would probably be taken aback a bit by how much they’re… thorough eaters. We don’t mean that in a derogative way, but outsiders ARE probably in for a culture shock. Amish clean their plates when they eat. We mean REALLY clean their plates.
Every last drop of sauce, gravy, or dressing and every last morsel of food are devoured, and a piece of bread is often used to soak up any surviving scraps. The Amish also eat surprisingly quickly, possibly because there’s always something that needs doing later.
Some Amish may come off as rude at mealtime
Another thing outsiders will definitely not be expecting is how terse the Amish are. They aren’t rude, even though it might certainly seem that way – it’s just their way. English will probably not be hearing a “James, can you please pass the mashed potatoes?” when they go into Amish country.
It’ll just be “Bread” or “Potatoes” or whatever – just one word. Apparently, the Amish also don’t really care about keeping their tablecloths clean, with the end of the meal leaving them stained by various sauces and foods. Luckily, laundry day is pretty much every day.
No, Amish don’t end meals with a round of burps
On the topic of mealtimes, there’s one last urban legend to debunk. In some parts of the world, it’s considered not only polite but respectful to unleash a monstrous burp at the end of the meal. It supposedly signifies to your hosts that you enjoyed their offerings.
There’s a persistent rumor that Amish meals are often periodically punctuated by various noises, from burping to flatulence. So no, it’s not like they take pride in who can burp the entire alphabet, but they are possibly a bit less prudish about bodily functions than the rest of us are.
Doing their ‘Saturday work’
As devout Christians, the Amish have a very traditional view of the family – it’s the man’s job to be the breadwinner while the woman stays at the house as homemaker and childrearer. These traditional genders roles have been gently challenged of late, with Amish women owning and operating their own small businesses.
Nevertheless, even working moms are still moms first and foremost, and they have a routine. Sweeping floors and cleaning dishes is done daily, while major cleaning operations, like mopping floors, is a weekly chore. In fact, it’s part of “Saturday work” – various cleaning and upkeep work around the house done before Sunday.
Amish and the danger of the ‘founder effect’
To say that the Amish are an island unto themselves is an understatement. It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone that Amish only marry other Amish, but it actually goes further than that. Members of an Amish subgroup, for example Swartzentrubers, are only expected to marry within that same subgroup, which makes the gene pool even shallower, so to speak.
Indeed, Amish communities suffer from the “founder effect” – people descending from just a few original immigrants, creating a risk for genetic diseases and making nearly every marriage equivalent to one between second cousins. That’s a price they pay wholeheartedly. After all, it’s “Gottes wille” – German for “God’s will.”
The dangers of friendship bread
There are few people in the Western world today as interlinked to their communities as the Amish are. And perhaps there’s no better signifier of the Amish sense of community togetherness than Amish friendship bread. Its recipe calls for the creation of a sourdough starter, which can be baked into various breads.
Part of that starter, however, is meant to be given to friends or the needy, hence the “friendship.” It’s a beautiful concept… except that health experts warn that dough left to ferment for a long period of time may develop salmonella bacteria, among other little devils.
Some Amish choose not to vaccinate
This is something of an inflammatory subject, even within the general American population, but it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be discussed. To start, there are no explicit rules in any Amish sect’s Ordnung prohibiting vaccinations. Despite this fact, Amish groups have traditionally declined immunizations, leading to multiple disease outbreaks.
A 2014 measles epidemic in Ohio, for example, could be traced to two Amishmen. The grounds for Amish objections, again, aren’t religious, but stem from distrust of vaccinations’ safety and a lack of understanding as to their benefits. In recent years, however, Amish vaccination rates are on the rise.
Natural remedies are preferred
Another misconception about the Amish is that they choose to live in the past, rejecting all of the modern facets of life, including medicine. That simply isn’t true. In cases of life-threatening or serious illness or injury, Amish are perfectly fine with going to a doctor or hospital. That having been said, minor things are still first treated the old-fashioned way.
Natural health remedies, usually plant-based, are still widely used. Ginger and peppermint help treat mild nausea or stomach aches, for example, but natural remedies are also used for anything from pneumonia to bedwetting.
Medicine helps, God alone heals
We feel like we’d be doing the Amish a disservice if we didn’t explain the philosophy behind Amish health practices as well. Reliance on natural, traditional remedies and the desire to avoid institutionalized healthcare don’t stem from hopelessly clinging to old ways but rather deep-seated religious faith.
According to Amish perception, medicine and doctors can help, but only God himself can heal. That’s why they’ll sometimes try to power through minor problems. Good health, according to the Amish, is important for the ability to work and provide for the family. Actually, many believe that illness is a result of sin, so preventive care is unproductive.
The Amish refuse any form of coverage
Part of the reason the Amish prefer finding solutions to health problems within the community, be it through granny cures or unlicensed locals, is that they’re not insured in any way. That isn’t a coincidence, either – U.S. law states that the Amish are exempt from Social Security and Medicare because of their conscientious and religious opposition to insurance.
Insurance, they believe, shows distrust in God’s will. Instead, they rely on “Amish Aid” – the community banding together to finance costly medical expenses. Seeking inexpensive medical care in Mexico, especially Tijuana, is also very popular.
The Amish’s complicated relationship with tobacco
As people of Christian virtue and decency, you might think the majority of the Amish would not possess the same earthly vices that the rest of us do. In reality, that isn’t always the case. While the Amish rarely smoke, they do use tobacco in pipes or for chewing, while also cultivating it as a cash crop.
To be fair, however, tobacco use among the Amish is indeed far lower than that of the general population. What’s more, some sects, like the New Order Amish, expressly object to both the use and cultivation of the plant.
The rules aren’t as strict for teens
As we have already established, there’s a varying level of strictness for Amish groups, with some of them adopting plenty of new world customs. One thing that seems to be relatively constant throughout most groups is that the rules are less strict for teens.
They know that part of adolescence is exploring your identity through rebellion, so they don’t punish teens for breaking the rules. Instead, they accept this part of them in the hopes that it will make them feel more connected to Amish life later on. They don’t want to push them away, after all.
The kids play with interesting dolls
You might think that an Amish childhood would be completely devoid of toys and fun, but that’s not entirely true. Amish kids have plenty of toys, but don’t expect them to be exciting games from Target. Instead, most Amish toys are actually homemade, and that includes the dolls for the girls.
A quick glance at Amish dolls might leave you with a bit of a creepy feeling though, as they are made without faces. This is done on purpose so as to not emphasise the importance of looks. This teaches kids to treat everyone equally regardless of how they look.
Teens go through a process called rumspringa
With the rules a bit more relaxed for teens, you would think that they would feel comfortable to say within the confines of the community throughout their teenage years. However, they are completely encouraged to explore the rest of the world and experiment with things to get it out of their systems.
It’s a time of their life called rumspringa (which translates to “running around”), and it is absolutely thought of as necessary. Some just do small rebellious acts while others completely leave their community only to return later. It really depends on the individual.
Don’t even think about DNA testing
With the risk of inbreeding in the Amish community, you would think that DNA testing would be common practice. If they were able to know who was related to who, they would be able to discern whether a marriage could potentially result in diseases or disorders caused by genetics. Unfortunately, however, DNA testing is definitely not allowed within Amish communities.
In one sense, this might be a good thing, as the gene pool is so tightly knit in the Amish world that some people may be disturbed if DNA testing was to happen.
How Amish baptism works
If you don’t already know by now, religion is the cornerstone of Amish life. It’s incredibly important to them, and religious ideals influence most decisions made within the Amish community. Despite how important religion is to them, however, they don’t force anyone to take part in it. In fact, young people are only baptized when they themselves decide that they want to go through that process.
They think that baptizing children is wrong because they can’t make an informed decision on whether or not they truly want to do it. Baptism generally takes place when someone is a teenager.
The Amish have a lower rate of cancer
The topic of health care in the Amish world is a touchy one. While they undoubtedly have different practices when it comes to medicine, there are some things about the general health of Amish people that might totally shock you. For instance, Amish people have a much lower rate of cancer than the general public.
Why is that? Well, we can only really guess, but most people point towards a far lower consumption of unhealthy, processed foods. Other things that cause cancer, such as cigarettes, are very rarely used by Amish people, which also helps.
The many languages of the Amish
Amish daily life is very different from the daily life of most Americans, and that is proven true by the fact that most Amish people are fluent in three different languages. For most official and educational events, just plain English is used. This is so that the children don’t have a different experience than the rest of America.
As for the other two languages, both German and Pennsylvania Dutch are spoken in certain scenarios. Most religious events use German as a way of honoring tradition while many people used Pennsylvania Dutch conversationally.
Dating is allowed but different
Amish people are generally far less focused on dating and premarital romance than other people around the world, which seems to fit with their idea of how life should be lived. With that being said, it’s not like dating isn’t allowed. But it should be noted that dating for young people looks quite different inside the Amish world than it does outside of it.
For instance, young couples are encouraged to literally sleep with one another in a process called bundling. They are completely clothed, but they sleep in the same bed and are separated from one another.
Birth control isn’t allowed
Okay, this one is kind of common sense based on most of the things that people commonly know about the Amish, but let us make it clear: birth control is not allowed for Amish people. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the most common one is that pregnancy is something that is willed by God, and to mess with that is strictly forbidden.
Additionally, Amish families generally want lots of children, so why limit yourself with contraceptives? If you are aiming to have five to 10 children, using birth control is totally counterproductive.
They don’t accept benefits from the government
The Amish are very hardworking, and they try to be as self-sufficient as possible. While the definition of self-sufficient will invariably change depending on what Amish community you are talking about (some Amish use modern technology, for instance), there is one thing that all Amish agree upon: it is bad to take things from the government.
Because of this, they do not receive social security benefits by their own choice. They still pay taxes, of course, but that’s simply because they are required to. If only you could opt out of paying taxes….
Amish women aren’t fashionistas
There is a common stereotype that says that all women love fashion. While this is definitely not true for everyone, it is especially untrue for Amish women. Even if they have a thing for dressing up, they generally don’t have the option to. This is because most Amish women will typically only have four dresses.
They have one for general scenarios, one for dressing up, one for doing the laundry, and then another spare dress in case something happens to one of the others. So yeah, not a lot of room to express yourself with your fashion.
Higher education is discouraged
Education is an important part of every Amish child’s maturation, but there is an important difference between regular American education and Amish education. For most American children and teenagers, school is generally seen as a stepping stone to higher education. High school is important, but college is even more important.
This is the opposite of how it is done in Amish society. Higher education is discouraged, as it can influence people to leave their Amish community. Instead, kids are taught about different practical professions within the community so that they don’t need a college education.
Meals are often shared by the community
We’ve already covered much of the mealtime habits that Amish people have, but here’s one that you may be interested in. While Amish meals are generally considered a sacred time for the family to come together, dinner isn’t always just limited to one family. It’s not all that unusual for an entire community to come together to share a meal.
When this happens, each person will bring an item (you know, like a potluck). These are general joyous occasions where everyone can catch up with another and share a real sense of community. Sounds fun to us!
The Amish are pacifists
There are plenty of people that disagree with the lifestyle that Amish people lead, and that’s fine. You don’t need to see the world in the same light as them.
In fact, the Amish probably don’t even care that you disagree. They are very peaceful people and don’t want to have conflict with others. They live by a strict code of pacifism, and that extends from a personal belief and becomes a more general one. They are against war of all kinds and do not support the military because it goes against their belief system.
They go on vacation
You might not believe it based on the relatively bare, secluded and insular life that they live, but Amish people have nothing against going on vacation. In fact, many Amish families love getting a chance to take a break from the community and go on a vacation.
One of the most popular Amish vacation spots in the U.S. is actually in Florida. That’s a far cry from Pennsylvania! The most popular area of Florida to visit is called Pinecraft, a spot which is also regularly visited by Mennonites.
**Disclaimer: Some photos may be stock images used for illustration purposes only. The people or places in these photos are not to be associated with the article.