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Fascinating Rules The Amish Have To Follow



When you think of the Amish, you probably think of those groups in the Pennsylvania area who still drive horses and buggies and don’t use electricity, but the actual truth is that you don’t know the half of it.
There’s so much that happens beneath the surface, people don’t even know how rigid it actually is inside those communities. Looking to learn more about some of America’s most traditional people? Well, look no further than these strict Amish rules.

Pregnant Women Work Right Up Until Birth

There’s no maternity leave for Amish women. They toil in the fields, pregnant or not, literally right up until the moment their water breaks. To make matters worse, they aren’t allowed any kind of pain medication during birth (unless it becomes an emergency situation, in which case they’re allowed to go to the hospital).

Women Are Limited To Four Dresses Total

Unfortunately, amish women don’t have the luxury of stuffing their closets full of clothes. They’re limited to owning only four dresses at a time – one for wearing, one for washing, one for formal occasions like church or weddings, and one spare dress for backup.

Amish Childrens’ Learning Is Capped At 8th Grade

While most kids would consider themselves lucky to only have to go to school through the 8th grade, for the children of Amish communities they’re not allowed to attend school beyond that. Their primary goal is to learn reading, writing, basic math, and Pennsylvania Dutch. Beyond that, all schooling is for practical learning, and after graduation they go straight to work in the community.

No Physical Interaction While Courting

You think modern parents are bad about regulating their kids while dating? In the Amish community, absolutely no physical contact of any sort is allowed during the courting period – including hand holding! Such intimacies must wait until after they’re married (and even then there are still limitations).

Zippers And Belts Are Not Allowed

Most people probably don’t consider buttons and zippers to be very gaudy, but the amish do. As such, you will never find a pair of men’s trousers with zippers on the front, only buttons. Even Sunday suits don’t button in the front, as it’s considered to be too close to military jackets. Also, belts and buckles are absolutely frowned upon since they also represent extreme opulence. Instead, men may wear suspenders… but only for the purpose of pants support!

Hair Must Be Up And Uncut At All Times

Amish women who desire a new hairstyle are plain out of luck, because strict rules dictate that women cannot cut their hair. On top of that, their long locks must be hidden away underneath either bonnets or prayer coverings, except for during the evening when they’re with the family. But the women aren’t the only ones who have strict hair regulations.

A Man’s Beard Is Sacred

Apparently amish men have higher regard for their beards than hipsters do, because they have just as many hair rules as the women do. All unmarried men must remain clean shaven, and only after they’ve taken a wife can they grow one and become a “real man”. And, of course, they must always shave their upper lips – a pacifist tradition that all started in an attempt to distinguish themselves from soldiers.

Photos Are Against The Rules… Sort Of

In general, the amish shun any kind of photography due to the fact that it promotes idolatry of “graven images”. This is why some amish will get very upset if you try to take their picture. There are exceptions to this, however. Some communities believe that only posing for photos is idolatrous, while candid photos of them working and doing tasks are perfectly acceptable.

All Women Must Be Silent And Submissive

The term “feminism” is about as foreign to the amish as television. As women must be totally submissive to either their male elders or their husbands (as per Old Testament law) and never dare speak up in church. In fact, in domestic matters where the church intervenes, the institution almost always sides with the man.

No Woman Can Be Childless

There’s no such thing as deciding not to have children in the amish community, as such thoughts would be considered sinful. If you’re a woman capable of bearing children, then that’s your main prerogative in life. And the tally doesn’t stop with just one or two kids either.

No Man Is To Cook

You’ll never see an Amish man in the kitchen, and that’s because cooking is considered to be womanly work. While the men labor in the fields and bring home the bacon, the women are required to stay home and cook the bacon (so to speak).

Amish Kids Can’t Contact Anyone From Outside The Community

As radical as it may seem, children are forbidden from talking to anyone who doesn’t live in their community. After all, young children are impressionable, and speaking to outsiders might influence their mindsets. If any child were to break these rules, they could get into some serious trouble by not only their parents, but the community leaders as well.

Makeup And Accessories Are Frowned Upon

Although many young ladies tried, any kind of makeup or external adornment is considered taboo. While most non-Amish women spend on jewelry, lavish clothing, and apparel, Amish women use that money for their families, which are typically about three times larger than the average American family!

Courting Couples Must Be Separated In Bed

Just to solidify the whole no touching rule, courting couples are required to “sleep” with each other side by side before marriage – with a physical divider between them, of course (this is also referred to as “bundling”). Couples may talk to each other throughout the night to establish an intimate bond, but that’s it. This practice stems from the Old Testament, specifically the book of Ruth.

Amish Children Are Recruited To Work Very Young

Child labor laws don’t apply to amish communities, because it’s not uncommon for children to start helping out around the farm soon after they learn to walk. To be fair, most children are eager to help and be like their older siblings, and there’s little coercion on the parents’ parts. Hard work and productivity is hard-wired into the amish from a young age, and so working for them is less of a chore and more of a way of life.

Excommunicated Church Members Are Totally Shunned

One of the greatest shames an Amish person can endure is being excommunicated from the church. This can be for any offense, from assaulting someone to possessing a cell phone. If the person who commits these transgressions doesn’t cooperate, then church leaders will vote and a shunning will take place. During this shunning – or “meidung” – there is to be no communication or support for the transgressor. This shunning is permanent, although they can be accepted back into the church if complete repentance is shown.

Driving Cars Is Forbidden (Though Riding In One Is Fine)

The amish are famous for their horses and buggies, and that’s due to their commitment to stay (relatively) technology-free. As such, the amish are forbidden from getting behind the wheel of a car… but that doesn’t stop them from finding loopholes all the same. Amish may accept rides from other people and may call a taxi if needed. In some instances, they’ll even hire chauffeurs to ferry them around!

The Majority Return To Their Communities

While some Amish teens who get a taste of the English world do choose to remain, more often than not they will choose to return home.Once they return, they are required to shun all worldliness, become baptized, and devote themselves wholeheartedly to the church. If at any point they change their minds, then they are to be excommunicated.

All Children’s Toys Must Be Simple

There aren’t very many options open for Amish children when it comes to playthings. Their options are typically limited to plain wooden carvings of horses or buggies, or faceless dolls. The reason why these dolls remain faceless is due to teachings from the book of Deuteronomy that forbids any graven images to be made, and the Amish interpret this as any sort of likeness whatsoever. This is done in an attempt to avoid any semblance of vanity.

Women Are Solely In Charge Of The Domestics

If you’re born female, then your role in the community has already been decided. Amish rules dictate that the woman’s domain is to be the home, and the man’s domain is not to be infringed upon. A woman’s sole purpose is to take care of the home and its occupants, and nothing more. In fact, they begin training these women from a very young age…

Never Too Young To Learn

In an effort to prepare them for life as a woman, Amish mothers begin training their daughters almost as soon as they can speak and walk. This training includes household chores like baking, cleaning, cooking, and other handicrafts that will prove useful to them later in life once they marry and establish their own households.

Technology Must Be Shunned (Except In Certain Conditions)

For centuries the amish have lived by a strict no technology rule, as such frivolous things are far too worldly. As times have changed, and technology has become almost impossible to avoid, more progressive communities have made exceptions for things like solar panels and wind turbines. They still remain largely off the grid, though.

The Amish’ Passion Is Their Work

If you were to ask any Amish person about their hobbies or passions, they’d likely say something like “working”. That’s because the Amish pride themselves on hard, sturdy work and getting their hands dirty. There’s no such thing as quick breaks or days off for them, as every day is considered an opportunity to build, farm, and toil.

Rumspringa Is The One Exception To Their Strict Rules

Once an Amish turns 16, they are free to leave their community to explore the English world, a time known as Rumspringa (which means “running around”). These teens are let loose on the world and allowed to party, drink, use technology, along with anything else that falls under pageanness and vice. They then must make a decision – to adopt the English ways, or return. Not all of them return home, though.

The Amish Are Required To Have Many Children

A staple component of the Amish lifestyle is bearing and raising children, a tenant inspired by the Bible’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”. For this reason, they abstain from birth control and all contraceptives, and typically have around six to eight kids. Sadly, due to increased breeding within a limited gene pool, some of these children end up being born with genetic defects.

The Older Children Must Take Care Of Their Younger Siblings

In an effort to prepare them for parenthood (and also to take pressures off of the parents), Amish children are required to care for their younger siblings. However, there’s no established minimum age – meaning that it’s not uncommon to see a six year old caring for their two year old sibling. These mandates would be highly challenged in modern society for safety issues alone!

The Ordnung Is Law

Before any amish man, woman, or child can make a decision about literally anything, they must first consult the Ordnung, a Bible-like manual that dictates everything about their culture from religious tenets to carriage design. But you won’t find it written down anywhere, as this is more of a mental manual that exists only in the mind and is passed down from generation to generation. Violating its rules can mean immediate expulsion from the church.

The Amish Shun Any Form Of Violence

In the 400-plus years they’ve existed, the amish have always eschewed any form of violence and aggression whatsoever. They’re pacifists by nature, which is why they stay clear away from the military, police force, and government. In fact, they won’t even vote in elections (although that is slowly changing) due to the fact that they’d be voting for politicians whose policies include warfare.

Church Is To Be Observed At Home

Though actual church buildings are starting to become more common in communities, many amish still follow the old beliefs of holding church services within their own homes. Families will rotate hosting, and services usually last around three hours long! During this time men and women will usually sit separately and the pastor will walk from room to room preaching so that everyone in attendance can hear.

No Instruments Are Allowed, Only Singing

Could you imagine a world without guitars, pianos, or drums? The amish can, thanks to a strict rule that says instruments of any kind are forbidden during church services. While some communities may allow the harmonica to be played during leisure time, during church they must stick to singing only.