Practices of the Old Order Amish:
Practices shared by most of the Old Order Amish, the largest Amish group, are listed below. Some smaller Amish groups have adopted practices which are either more progressive or more restrictive.
- Language: Members usually speak a German dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch). High German is used during worship. They learn English at school.
- Education: Schools are one-room buildings run by the Amish. Formal education beyond Grade 8 is discouraged, although many youth are given further instruction in their homes after graduation.
- Appearance: Men follow the laws of the Hebrew Scriptures with regards to beards. They do not grow mustaches, because of the long association of mustaches with the military.
- Clothing: Men usually dress in a plain, dark colored suit. Women usually wear a plain colored dress with long sleeves, bonnet and apron. Women wear a white prayer covering if married; black if single. Brides’ gowns are often blue or purple.
- Modern conveniences:
- Vehicles: With very few exceptions, Old Order Amish congregations do not allow the owning or use of automobiles or farm tractors. However, they will ride in cars when needed.
- Electrical devices: They do not use electricity, or have radios, TV sets, personal computers, computer games, etc.
- Telephones: In-home telephones are not normally allowed. Some families have a phone remote from the house.
- Government programs: Most Amish groups do not collect Social Security/Canada Pension Plan benefits, unemployment insurance or welfare. They maintain mutual aid funds for members who need help with medical costs, dental bills, etc.
- Photography: They do not take photographs or allow themselves to be photographed. To do so would be evidence of vanity and pride. Also, it might violate the prohibition in Exodus 20:4, the second of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that…is in the earth…”
- Marriage: Marriages outside the faith are not allowed. Couples who plan to marry are “published” in late October. They are married in one of their homes during November or early December.
- Days of Celebration: They celebrate the traditional Christian holy days. They also observe a Fast Day on October 11.
- Religious services: These are held biweekly on alternate Sundays. One the “in-between” Sundays, members often attend another congregation’s service, or visit friends or family. Services consist of singing, two prayers, Bible reading, a short opening sermon, and a main sermon. Each baptized male then offers a comment on the biblical correctness of the sermons.
- Communion services: These are held twice yearly, in the spring and fall. Before the service, a council meeting is held in which the attendees resolve any disagreements that they have with each other. They also discuss matters regarding proper lifestyle and conduct.
- Meeting places: Services are usually held in the homes of members. As a rule, they do not build meeting houses or churches. One source speculates that this practice may have been done “…out of frugality, perhaps out of necessity, or perhaps to emphasize that people (and not the building were really the church…” 4
- Funerals: These are conducted in the home without a eulogy, flower decorations, or other display. The casket is plain, without adornment. At death, a woman is usually buried in her bridal dress. A simple tombstone is erected after burial.
- Rumspringa: Some Amish groups practice a tradition called rumspringa (“running around“). Teens aged 16 and older are allowed some freedom in behavior. It is a interval of a few years while they remain living at home, yet are somewhat released from the intense supervision of their parents. Since they have not yet been baptized, they have not committed to follow the extremely strict behavioral restrictions and community rules imposed by the religion. Depending upon the behavioral rules of their particular community, they may be allowed to date, go out with their friends, visit the outside world, go to parties, drink alcoholic beverages, wear jeans, etc. The intent of rumspringa is to make certain that youth are giving their informed consent if they decide to be baptized. About 80% to 90% decide to remain Amish
(So with all that said maybe Debbie will let me become Amish! LoL I don’t think so maybe in a another life)