About The Amish
The Amish are a deeply religious group descended from the Anabaptist movement. They have settlements in many states, but the largest settlements are in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada.
The Amish believe very strongly in remaining separated from the world. They deny themselves the use of regular electricity and automobiles. Out of necessity, they do use generators attached to diesel engines, and ride in cars from time to time. Their dress is also very distinctive. The men wear black broad fall trousers, solid colored shirts, suspenders, and black or straw hats. The women wear modest, solid colored dresses, usually with long sleeves and a full skirt. They wear a cape and apron over these dresses. Women wear their hair pulled back in a bun, and a bonnet, or “prayer veiling” on their heads.
The Amish do not drive automobiles. Rather, they get around by horse and buggy. The color of buggy varies from settlement to settlement, but here in Berlin, Ohio, they are black. Part of the reason for maintaining this tradition is to keep the community from getting too spread out. The bicycle and horseback are two other popular modes of transportation. The family and community is very important to them, which is why shunning is such a powerful deterrent to rejecting the Amish religion.
Farming is still a big part of the Amish lifestyle. Seeding is done with horse-drawn implements or by hand. This produces a lot of hard work and long hours. Many Amish families are quite large, and in many cases it is to relieve the father and mother of all the chores of the farm. It is this kind of simple, hardworking lifestyle that helps to keep the Amish family and community so close-knit; a sharp contrast to today’s worldly trends. The Amish are very ingenious in using mechanical things to do what we would do electronically. With pneumatic (air) or hydraulic power, they can replace a lot of electronics.
Amish do not have televisions, computers, or other electronic equipment. Out of necessity, they do use telephones, but these are kept in little sheds at some distance from their house (called “phone shanties”) in an attempt to keep from being tempted to use the phone more than just emergencies.
Most Amish speak English as their second language. Different dialects of German are their first language, with high German being spoken at their church services. In Berlin, Ohio Dutch is most commonly spoken among the Amish. Many Amish children don’t learn English until they are taught it in their one-room schoolhouses.
The Amish are known for their simple way of life. They are also known for their craftsmanship, stemming from their continuing of traditions and practices that taught that “a job worth doing is a job worth doing right”. Amish-made food, furniture, and crafts are known for their quality workmanship.
While the Amish culture may appear to be unchanging, even while the rest of the world is changing rapidly, this is not the case. The Amish simply are careful to only accept those changes which will still encourage close family and community ties, and a separation from worldly pleasures that may lead them astray.