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Amish Culture: An Overview
Transcript of Amish Culture: An Overview
The Amish Culture: An Overview
Ordnung is a document that basically provides the guidelines for daily living
Church life and everyday living are inseparable
There is no central governing system so each church has it's own customs.
General "traditions" include:
Children attend one-roomed schools similar to what we had between 1890-1950 (Dr.Dewalt)
Their education also focuses on preparation for the work force
Education is completed at the eighth grade and then boys apprentice while girls learn home maintenance
All men work. Unemployment among the Amish is nearly nonexistent
Jobs in a trade or farming are most preferred
Women mostly take care of the home and children
Amish speak German, or Pennsylvanian Dutch
Women and men are kept separate, sitting on opposite sides of their school and church
Weekly post-Sunday gatherings, barn raisings, weddings, and get-togethers are looked at as times to consider possible courtships
When not working or maintaining the household, church services are attended
After service on Sunday, the Amish have "leisure" time to socialize and visit each other's houses, often sharing meals
Conservatism is key to dressing
Women wear dresses with a shawl and a Kopp (head covering)
Men wear a plain button shirt, pants, suspenders, and straw hat. They also have beards but aren't allowed mustaches
Home grown and prepared food is the center of all meals
Families sit down and eat their meals together
Customs differ, but basic principles are followed
Amish typically don't use electricity and their transportation is horse and buggy
Technology is seen as creating inequality, greediness, and it weakens the family
Families use candles and wood for heat
Religion & Beliefs
An unwritten set of rules - guidelines to daily living to help live a Christian life.
It is encourage to surrender personal aspirations for the sake of purity.
Forbidden from any warfare or violence
Stresses the importance of Humility, Family, and Community, and Modesty.
Amish Shunning ("avoidance")
Shunning is a form of social avoidance. It is an alteration of behavior towards an individual who has willfully violated rules of the church.
The fundamental way in which the community deals with disobedient members.
When a person is shunned can they ever come back to the community?
Rumspringa "running around"
- It is the term used for youth and the period leading up to serious courtship during which rules are relaxed
They have the option to participate in worldly activities
- Traditional youth activities vs "faster" rebellious youth activities
Rumspringa varies from community to community
-At the end of rumspringa Amish young adults are expected to find a spouse and be baptized
Isolationg themselves from the rest of society is one of the key Amish beliefs
Weddings involve the entire Amish community.
A couples engagement is kept secret until a few weeks before the wedding.
There is a huge feast for the invited guest at the wedding.
are simple, following the Amish belief that no individual is better than another.
Being submissive and not exalting yourself.
The building foundation of the Amish way of Life.
Protect children from the outside world.
Avoid taking personal credit for things you do.
Important to study the bible to live a life free from sin and not be persuaded by the outside world.
Their "Church buildings" are usually in the community homes, but without music and pastors.
The Ausbund Hymnal Book:
consist of 900 pages of hymns.
Over 50 hymnal songs written
Anabaptist: It is insisted that the adults be baptize or re-baptize, Not when they are infants.
The History of the Amish
Jacob Hertzler, the first well-known Amish bishop in North America settles in Northkill Creek, in Berks County north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Amish begin settling in eastern Ohio, farming side by side with the Native Americans already there. Twenty five years later, this community will consist of approximately 250 Amish families.
Old Order Amish communities across North America decide, over several years, to forbid telephones in their homes, although using a public telephone is permitted.
They also gradually begin to ban the ownership of automobiles, citing the risk that car ownership would encourage urban contacts and pull their community apart. Most Amish can still ride in a car as passengers under certain circumstances, but they may not own or drive one.
William Penn arrives in America on the ship Welcome and founds Pennsylvania.
A Quaker, Penn promotes religious freedom in the colony that he creates as his "holy experiment."
Pennsylvania will become a refuge for both Native Americans and people of various religious denominations who are being persecuted elsewhere.
Thirteen German Mennonite families arrive in Pennsylvania seeking religious freedom. They found Germantown six miles north of Philadelphia.
Amish Beliefs and Practices (2013). In About.com. Retrieved
November 7, 2013, from http://christianity.about.com/od/Amish-Religion/a/Amish-Beliefs.htm
Peaceful Societies: Amish (2013). In Encyclopedia of Selected
Peaceful Societies. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://www.peacefulsocieties.org/Society/Amish.html
The Amish (2013). In Religion Facts. Retrieved November 13, 2013,
PBS. (n.d.). Amish in america. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh
Amish family Bailey retouch [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://
www.amishnews.com/Amish family Bailey retouch.jpg
(2006, June 21). Amish Cemetery [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://
1681 [Web Photo]. Retrieved from 1681 [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://
Jakob Amman [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://shedsamishbuilt.com/wp-
Nolt, S. M. (1992). A history of the amish. Intercourse, Pennsylvania: Good
DeWalt, Dr. M. W. (2013, November 14). Interview by L. Smith, J. Barry, S. Kendrick, C.
Clark. Amish culture - Grand Valley State University Social Work 300 group project.
Amish Culture (2008). In Exploring Amish Country. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.exploring-amish-country.com/amish-culture.html
n/a, n. (Director). (2012). Amish - A Secret Life [Documentary]. n/a: BBC.
Brunsetter, W. (2011, October 12). A Tour of a Newer Amish Home in Holmes County,
Ohio - With Wanda Brunstetter. YouTube. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://
The Amish Roots Date back to 16th Century Europe.
led the protestant Reformation & the breaking away from the Catholic Church.
In 1525, several followers of a Swiss pastor grew impatient with the pace of reformation & started their own reformation within the Protestant Church.
The Amish are an
group with around
Anabaptism is born
Dissenters secretly met and baptized one another. This was a new form of baptism which became known as
Anabaptism or Adult baptism.
This disobedience was not tolerated by the government. Anabaptists were
imprisoned, exiled, fined and threatened.
Despite the persecution, the number of Anabaptist groups flourished through Europe.
During the next century the Anabaptists were
jailed, tortured, burned, beheaded or sold as slaves.
With all of the disorganization from discouraged and scared Anabaptists, former Catholic Priest,
joined the Anabaptists in 1536.
As the 17th Century came to a close, one of Menno Simmons followers,
, began to form issues with the Mennonite & Anabaptist doctrines.
By the 18th Century, thousands of Anabaptists had sought refuge in other countries, including
The Amish in America - A Timeline
Amish Settlements in America Today
Immersion in the Amish Culture
The Charming Nancy sets sail for North America from the Netherlands with 21 Amish families. Over the next three decades, about 100 families (500 Amish) will make the crossing.
Interview with Dr. M.W. Dewalt
Q. How often do people not born in the Amish community come to be members?
A. More often than you think. Many are successful in becoming Amish for life. Others try for a while and then return to our culture. One of the hardest things to do is give up one’s car. The other thing is that it is hard to learn the Amish dialect (Penn. German)
Q. When an Amish individual is shunned from the community (for religious reasons), can that person be accepted back, or are they completely removed from the community?
A. In most cases yes, the Amish want the person to come back. They person who was shunned must stand before the church and confess their sin, then ask for forgiveness. The church will then forgive the person and move on. The sin will not be mentioned again.
Q. Do Amish marriages have any particular difficulties?
A. Yes, most are strong, but there are occasions when a father is too strict, and rare instances where one of the couple may leave. There are places where Amish adults can go for marital counseling.
Q. Are most Amish marriages happy with their partners?
A. I would say yes, partners are happy with each other.