Bright Side

15+ Facts About the Amish Lifestyle That Would Be a Challenge for Lots of People

The Amish are people that live in the twenty-first century but don’t use electricity or social media. They still ride horses and go to supermarkets, take part in the social life of the country, and sell tours of their community through the Internet. We’ve learned a bit more about the Amish lifestyle and how their traditions from the 1700s coexist with modern technology.

We at Bright Side have found a lot of interesting facts about the Amish and want to share them with you.

  • The closed community of the Amish has been famously captured in photographs where people in old-fashioned clothes ride horse carts on American roads alongside modern cars. It’s a known fact that the Amish don’t use technology. They live according to a very strict set of rules, isolated from the rest of the world. They prefer manual labor and their families have an average of 6 children. There are more than 300,000 Amish people and most of them are located in Canada and the US. However, their rules and traditions vary by group.

  • The Amish don’t have cars. But they can be passengers — for example, in cars, buses, trains, or in the cars of the neighbors that want to give them a ride. This doesn’t violate the traditions and allows them to reach places they wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Also, the Amish can hire people outside their community to transport them. But they don’t use planes because they think that they are too modern.

  • The Amish don’t use bicycles. But a kind of transportation that is somewhere in between a scooter and a bicycle is very popular. These scooter-bikes are probably the second most popular mode of transportation after horse carts. There are a lot of young people that go to school using these and they’re actually called Amish scooters. There’s a special Amish-owned company that makes these scooters.

  • When it comes to electricity, what’s considered taboo for Amish people is one of the public symbols of their separation from the world. This means they can’t use the radio, TV, or other appliances. But their traditions and reality are in conflict: electricity is banned, but autonomous generators are used.

  • Also, in some Amish groups, they use pneumatic engines for washing and sewing machines. Fridges, stoves, water heaters, and lamps all use bottled gas.

  • There are no strict rules about the Amish diet. So they’re okay with visiting Burger King, for instance. It really surprises other visitors when they park their horses in the parking lots.

  • At weddings, the Amish put celery in vases. This plant is a symbol of the community. Also, this celery, which they grow themselves, is added to food and used to decorate the house.

  • Rumspringa is the period of Amish life that starts in the teenage years and ends with a very important decision: to stay in the community or leave it. During this time, young people can have any life they want, go anywhere they want, and do many things that are prohibited within the community. There’s a 2002 documentary about this life period called Devil’s Playground. Also, there are a few reality shows that show what happens when Amish children go to big cities.

  • If during Rumspringa, a young Amish person leads a lifestyle that violates the rules of the community, it doesn’t mean they can’t return. If a person decides to return and then leaves the community again, it’s only then that other Amish people will avoid them. If after Rumspringa, an Amish person stays in the world of technology and electricity, they might be avoided, even by those closest to them. It really depends on the community as to whether their parents will stop contacting them or not.

  • Around 90 % of all Amish people return to their community after Rumspringa and join the church. The others start a regular modern life. For example, Kate Stoltz was one of the stars of the show Breaking Amish and left the community after the show. Today, Kate is a model, designer, and a TV star that lives in New York.

  • Scientists found that many members of the Amish community age slower than regular people, so they live about 10 years longer because of a genetic mutation.

  • The dolls that Amish children are allowed to play with don’t have any facial features. Any dolls with eyes, ears, or mouths are prohibited. This superstition derives from the fact that “all are alike in the eyes of God.” The lack of facial features agrees with the Bible’s commandment against graven images.

  • The largest number of Amish are in Pennsylvania. At the moment, there are more than 200 covered bridges, and in the 1800s, there were around 1,500. Lancaster County is especially famous for these bridges — there are 29 of them and there are special tours for people outside of the Amish community.

  • The Amish built covered bridges because, around 2 centuries ago, wood was fairly cheap, and it was used for construction. The building process was pretty expensive, so there were roofs built to protect the bridges from rain and extend their life.

  • Some communities turn their culture into an attraction for tourists. Many organize online souvenir stores while others provide buggy rides. You can even stay in an Amish house.

  • Ordnung, which is the name of the set of rules for the Amish, prohibits jewelry. This is why they don’t wear wedding rings.

  • Amish women don’t cut their hair. They regularly put it into a bun and wear a bonnet, because hair can’t be a source of pride.

Do you think you could give up on the things the Amish gave up on? Tell us in the comment section below!