6 Things To Know About The Amish

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

1. There are about 8 subgroups of Amish who are themselves a subgroup of the Mennonite Christian faith.

2. The most traditional descendants speak Pennsylvania German (also known as Pennsylvania Dutch).

3. They live by a strict set of rules that include limiting the use of electricity and telephones, not driving automobiles, wearing plain (homemade) clothing, and never accepting help from government programs like Social Security.

4. Children only attend school until grade eight.

5. Rumspringa, or “running around” (recently made into an overdramatized TLC series called Breaking Amish) begins around the ages of 14-16, and is a time when young adults can break all of the rules and see what life outside their communities is like. During this time, those on rumspringa can wear “English” — aka modern — clothing, drink, use technology, and live in urban cities with NO penalty. This gives these young adults a chance to make an informed decision about whether they want to commit themselves to the church or not.

6. Baptism does not occur until around the ages of 16 and 25 (after rumspringa) which joins the individual with the church and community for life. Marriage can not occur until baptism does, and the Amish may ONLY marry individuals that are a part of their congregation. 

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