Amish Culture Project

This Forum will be describing and analyzing the Amish Subculture in America. By Lauren, Cecilia, Judith, and Stephen.
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 Amish Norms for Men, Women, and Children

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Join date : 2017-11-10

PostSubject: Amish Norms for Men, Women, and Children   Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:32 pm


"Most Amish groups share certain practices: use of horse and buggy for local transportation, rejection of electricity from public utility lines, prohibition against televisions and computers, some type of distinctive dress, beards for men, ending of formal education at the eighth grade, meeting in homes for worship every other Sunday, lay religious leaders, and living in rural areas."  “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” Generally, most Amish communities speak a combination of English and Pennsylvania Dutch. There is a lot of diversity between Amish groups and church districts, so even though they all may seem similar to an outsider, internally they can be very different.

Transportation and Mechanical Energy

"The Amish think that ownership of cars would encourage people to drive away from home more often and give youth easier access to cities. In short, they fear that the car would pull their community apart. The horse and buggy is also a symbol of their separation from the larger world." “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” Amish primarily use bicycles and horse-drawn buggies as transportation. On occasion, they will ride in cars, trains, or buses, operated by other people, but they are not allowed to use airplanes to travel. Horses, generators, and small gas or propane driven engines are used to power farming equipment and lighting, depending on the Amish beliefs in a given community.

Gender Roles

Usually, Amish families have traditional gender roles, where the man is the main supporter of the household and the wife tends to the needs of the house and children. There is a wide spectrum of dominance between the husband and wife, and there are many variations to the traditional roles. Women with children typically hold part-time jobs and some single women, or women with grown children, operate their own businesses. "In non-farm families, typically the husband is the primary breadwinner, but in cases where a wife owns a business, she may provide most of the family income. When husbands work at home, there is often considerable sharing of roles—women assisting in the barn or shop, and men in the garden or around the house." “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” Men are considered the religious heads of the home, but women share in the household decision and disciplinary action in the home. Men are responsible for religious matters in the church and the outside world. There are strong family bonds in the Amish community and family members always help each other during emergencies or during difficult times. When Amish get old, they live which one of their children or in a Grossdawdy Haus, a small adjacent house next to the main building.


Politically, Amish pay all the same taxes that the English pay, including a double payment tax for school for both public schools and private Amish schools. They are exempt from Social Security and do not believe in commercialized insurance, relying on the church and each other to take care of them during hard times. They also believe in a form of Pacifism and rarely do men join the military. Medically, many Amish use modern medicine, but some groups prefer homeopathic or alternative medicine and most are less likely to select high risk or expensive medical procedures than regular society.


"If members break their vows of baptism by disobeying the regulations of the church or the authority of its leaders and refuse to confess their error, they will face excommunication. The church, using several biblical scriptures, teaches that members should shun ex-members to remind them of their disobedience in hopes of winning them back. Different Amish affiliations practice different types of shunning and the mode varies by family and church. Shunning is not the end of social interaction but involves rituals of shaming, such as not eating at the same table with someone who has been dismissed from the church. Wayward members can always return and be reinstated if they confess." “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” Individuals who voluntarily leave the church before being baptized are not excommunicated because they made no baptismal vows and can return to the church at any time.


"Men and boys wear broad-brimmed black hats, dark-colored suits, straight-cut coats without lapels, broad fall pants, suspenders, solid-colored shirts, and black socks and shoes. Their shirts may fasten with conventional buttons, but their coats and vests fasten with hooks and eyes. Men grow beards after they marry but are forbidden to have mustaches." “Amish.” Britannica Academic.

"Old Order Amish women and girls wear bonnets, long full dresses with capes over the shoulders, shawls, and black shoes and stockings; their capes and aprons are fastened with straight pins or snaps. Amish women never cut their hair, which is worn in a bun, and they are not allowed to wear jewelry of any kind." “Amish.” Britannica Academic.


Children's clothes are similar to adult men and women. Children are considered adult when they are baptized between the ages of 16 and 21. Traditional youth activities include volleyball, swimming, ice skating, picnics, hiking, and large outdoor “supper” parties. The most typical gatherings are “singings.” Groups meet in a home and sing German hymns and English gospel songs for several hours and then enjoy a time of conversation and food. “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” Children help with chores and


"About 90 percent attend one- or two-room private Amish schools; the others go to rural public schools. In Amish schools, an Amish teacher is typically responsible to teach all eight grades, or in the case of a two-room school, half of the grades. Amish children typically end their formal schooling at the end of eighth grade." “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” "in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case known as Wisconsin vs. Yoder, ruled that Amish children could end their formal schooling at the age of fourteen. Scripture reading and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer opens each day, but religion is not formally taught in the school. The curriculum includes reading, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, penmanship, history, and some geography. Science and sex education are not usually taught. The ethos of the classroom accents cooperative activity, obedience, respect, diligence, kindness, and the natural world. Little attention is given to independent thinking and critical analysis, the values of public education." “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.”


"Rumspringa means “running around” in the Pennsylvania German dialect. It is the time, beginning at about age 16 when youth socialize with their friends on weekends. Rumspringa ends with marriage. (For those who don’t marry, Rumspringa ends in their mid to late twenties.) This period is an important time when Amish youth need to decide if they will be baptized and join the church or leave the Amish community." “The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.” Some Amish individuals stick with their traditional Amish beliefs and practices, while others experiment with "worldly" activities. Some have sex, use drugs or alcohol, drive cars, and wear non-Amish clothing. Rumspringa symbolizes that Amish youth have a choice in leaving the church or staying with their Amish communities. Though some individuals leave, the majority of youth, after Rumspringa choose to remain with their Amish communities.

“Amish.” Britannica Academic.
“The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College.”

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