The Amish Having no electricity, no phones or even any modern day technology- to us it would be a major culture shock but to the Amish it is just another day in life. The Amish are considered a society that is outdated and old. I have learned from researching that they can be fully functional.
The way they dress is probably the most obvious sign of what sets them off from everyone else. The men, women, and kids have a certain way they have to dress every day. Men generally wear dark colored suits, straight cut coats with lapels, trousers, and suspenders.They wear solid colored shirts, black socks and shoes, and a black or straw brimmed hat (Graber). The normal colors of the outfit would be rich blue, deep green, purple, maroon, or grey. Men’s pants are usually black or dark denim blue.
Men also do not have mustaches, but grow beards after they marry (Graber). Women are a tad bit different. They wore modest dresses made from solid fabric with long sleeves or short sleeves and a skirt. The dresses are covered with a cape or apron and are fastened with straight pins or snaps. On their heads they wear a white prayer covering if they are married and a black one if they are single (Graber).Like the men, the women never cut their hair, which they wear in a bun on their head. In our culture we use Automobiles.
The Amish do not. They use horse and buggies as their mode of transportation (Smith). They have currently banned the ownership and operation of the automobile for some section members, which causes them to be known as the horse and buggy culture. They are however, allowed to use tricycles and wagons and any other small toy on wheels. Today, however some sectors are permitting the use of scooters to ride from school to home (Kraybill).
To the Amish, education is very important.They expect all kids to be educated some way or another either by being home schooled or going to a small private school. The primary goal of the Amish teacher is to teach the kids proper English, but they also were taught math and spelling. The schools don’t go all the way to high school as we see them today. The Amish generally go to school up to grade 8 (Myers and Nolt). The school houses where they attend school are generally one roomed with two front facing doors-one for the boys and one for the girls- as well as a cloak room, a small closet, and a basement area.
Traditional all-of-a piece wood desks face the front blackboard and a teacher’s desk. Along the back wall are long benches for visitors. A large free standing wood cabinet holds books and supplies. A wood burning stove provides heat while the light is provided from the range of windows along one wall and sometimes by a skylight. Outside there are two wooden privies-one for the boys and one for the girls (Garrett, Kahn). They had chores to do everyday just like us but they were a little bit different then your typical chores. They had responsibilities from an early age.
They included learning about farming and helping with crops, and for women that meant learning about cooking and quilt making (Garrett and Kahn). Chores and work go hand in hand with each other. You have to put in manual labor and effort for you to get paid. The Amish men usually are the ones that held jobs. The jobs included industrial occupations, carpentry, and construction crews and home bases small businesses. The women were engaged with quilt making and other such activities such as cooking and cleaning the house (Smith).
The Amish have a very strict belief system, and are very religious.They believe in going to church every Sunday no matter what the circumstance. They stick to the basic beliefs of the Christian faith (Kraybill). They stress the importance of obedience, humility, and simplicity. They think that you should never resort to violence. They never file lawsuits or participate in the military for doing so would violate the meek and forgiving spirit of Jesus Christ (Kraybill). They also believe that wearing plain clothes, living in a simple manner and helping a neighbor in need are true expressions of faith for the Amish.
The use of phones is also prohibited because it takes away from the social relations people have with one another. The family is the last and above all most important aspect in the Amish life. The families you will see are very close to one another. The young Amish are not put into arranged marriages but they have been marrying in their early twenties (Myers and Nolt).
For the marriage to work in an Amish community both members must be church members married in the church. Husband and wife assume traditional gender defined roles in the house.The man is the religious leader of the house, as well as the primary source of the families’ livelihood. The wife is understood to be the primary homemaker.
They love large families as well. The average Amish family varies from six children to nine children. Although being Amish would be a complete 180 for you or me, they look at us the exact same way. The Amish think our clothes are different, that we have to drive fancy cars to fit it and that we spend too much time on education. Our chores would be nothing to them and our beliefs and family closeness would shock them as well.
We need to not judge a culture based on what we see. Most importantly we need to look at the people themselves and truly get to know them before we make our final opinion. Works Cited Garrett, Ruth Irene, and Deborah Morse-Kahn. Born Amish. Boston, KY: Turner Company, 2004. Kraybill, Donald B. The Puzzles of Amish Life. New York: Good Books, 1998.
Meyers, Thomas J. , and Steven M. Nolt. An Amish Patchwork: Indiana’s Old Orders in the Modern World.
New York: Quarry Books, 2005. Smith. The Amish People. New York, NY: Exposition P, 1958.