The Amish are an interesting group of traditional Christians with Swiss and German backgrounds. The Amish immigrated from Europe for religious freedom and better farmlands. They follow simple living, avoid modern technology and maintain a self-sufficient way of life. They value rural life. Non-Amish people are referred to as “English.” They practice nonresistance and do not perform any type of military service.
Amish beards are a symbol of commitment and manhood to the men in the community.Amish beards
Amish society has been very particular about their beards and strong policy against mustaches since colonial times. In Amish society, beards are believed to be equivalent to wedding rings. They indicate a man is currently married or has been married in the past (in the event he is a widower).
Once an Amish man is married, they stop shaving beards as the beard in the Bible is symbolic of growing up and manhood. They acknowledge it by allowing married men to grow their beards out. They do not wear a wedding ring as it is against their rule to use jewelry as a symbol of marriage.
Growing mustaches are against the rules in the Amish community as they are pacifists and view mustaches as a sign that represents military and violence.Image credits: Fenton, Roger/Wikimedia
British soldiers were required to grow mustaches up until 1916. When they occupied the United States, they were bullies of the Amish community as well as other Mennonites due to their different lifestyles and belief in not participating in violent acts such as war. In that way, the Amish beard takes on another symbolic significance as well — peaceful protest. The Amish are (and still are, by doctrine) nonviolent in that they rejected even the fashions of those who embraced military service. The military resemblance, thus, is one reason behind Amish men not having mustaches along with their beards.
More interesting facts about the Amish Community.
1 Amish follow mandatory and secular experimentation for teens called “Rumspringa” where they get to explore the outer world.
As the community follows strict rules and has a different way of life, Amish teens between the age of 14 to 18 are made to join the English communities where they get to explore the world and decide if they want to leave the Amish community for the outside world or get baptized into the religion and live the Amish way. Baptism is a ceremony Amish go through as a way to show their commitment to the way of God and church for the rest of their life. Once they choose to be baptized, they will strictly follow the Amish lifestyle and their traditional way of life. The baptism has lifelong implications and is taken very seriously.
2 Amish do not play music with musical instruments.
The Amish do not entertain the use of musical instruments as they believe they bring unwanted attention to an individual. Their church music and any other passed down music they have, do not use any instruments. Avenues of self-expressions like these are considered unnecessary for an individual according to their beliefs.
3 Dancing is not considered modest in the Amish community.
The Amish community lives such selfless lives, that they consider dancing or moving their body to music as a worldly activity. Only Amish youth engage in dance during their Rumspringa period. Others usually listen to only church songs and music is limited to hymns.
4 Jewelry is considered a material that attracts attention to the body and thus is not allowed.
The Ordnung, the set of rules that the Amish follow, strictly prohibits the use of jewelry. The Amish do not even wear a wedding ring. Other symbols like beards for men and black bonnets for women are considered to represent their marital status.
5 Amish families do not use the English language for communication unless it is with outsiders.
Amish use the language called “Pennsylvania German” or “Dutch “at home. It is a dialect of German which is not a written language. They write in English but occasionally with German words, and speak English only to the outsiders who are non-Amish. Bibles and versus used in church are written in High German.
6 Amish go to school only until the eighth grade. Their formal education ends there, and then they will learn in private schools.
Amish appreciate agriculture and craftsmanship and focus on hands-on learning after the eighth grade. They also believe higher education can promote anti-Christian values to their children and therefore end formal education at the eighth grade but they continue learning in various formal as well as informal venues.
7 The Amish community lives to a healthy old age because of their lifestyle.
The Amish live a very healthy life by relying on agriculture raised their own hands without technology as their main way of getting food. Amish are six times more active than average human beings of the same age. The percentage of obesity is very low as they are involved in physical work. Because of the absence of use of tobacco, their chances of tobacco-related types of cancer are lower compared to people outside the community.
8 Amish genes that moved to America in the 1700s are still intact as the people only marry within their own community.
The Amish population in the USA currently are direct descendants of 200 families that moved to the US in the 1700s. Their lifespan is also 10% longer than people without the Amish gene.
9 Large families are valued in the Amish community, so they mostly abstain from birth control.
Amish are Biblical literalists, they take verses in the Bible quite seriously. They take the verse from the Bible, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-28), very seriously. Most Amish families in the U.S. have six to seven children. They are a closed society and have a limited gene pool, therefore, birth defects are frequent in Amish families.
10 People of Old Order Amish do not operate any motor vehicles.
Old Order Amish strictly stay away from modern technologies. They are more traditional than the New Order ones who moved to different parts of the US and started operating vehicles and using technologies. Old Order Amish, even on the farms, use pure labor to grow crops and practice other activities.