Jacob Amman founded the Amish movement in Europe; this is how the name was derived. The Amish movement began as a reform group within the Mennonite movement in an attempt to restore some of the early Mennonite practices. Their beliefs and practices were based on the writings of Menno Simons, the founder of the Mennonite faith.
Following are some of the practices shared by most of the Old Order Amish, the largest Amish group.
Education in the Amish Community
The Amish people run their own one-room schoolhouses. Students graduate after the eight grade and formal education is discouraged after graduation. However, some continue to study on their own.
Physical Appearance of the Amish People
Men wear beards but no mustaches; they usually dress in a dark, plain colored suit. Women wear a plain colored dress with long sleeves, a bonnet, and an apron. They wear a white prayer covering if they are married and black, if single. They are not allowed to wear makeup, nail polish, or perfume.
Modern Conveniences in Amish Society
Amish people generally ride in a buggy; there are very few exceptions in which they are allowed to drive a car. They are not allowed to have electricity or modern conveniences in the house and telephones are not normally allowed. There are no televisions, radios, computers, or video games in their houses.
There is No Photography Allowed
It would be considered vain to take photographs of oneself or to allow pictures to be taken. Besides, it might violate the prohibition in Exodus 20:4: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that…is in the earth…” Photographs are not permitted in the Amish community.
About the Amish Religious Services
Church services are held every two weeks on alternate Sundays in the homes of Amish members. The opposite Sundays are often spent visiting friends and family. They do not build churches or meeting houses. Communion occurs twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall.
Some Amish migrated to the United States beginning in the early 18th century, initially settling in Pennsylvania. Others were established in New York, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, and various other states. The faith group avoids many of the features of modern society in an attempt to preserve the elements of the late 17th century European rural culture. This is what isolates them from American culture.
The Amish: Practices of Various Groups
The Amish: History, beliefs, practices, conflicts