Amish country

I’m still on my vacation back in NY.  Last weekend, we went to this small Amish country market, called The Windmill, located near Seneca Lake.  We had gone to this market when my sister and I were little, and I guess my mom and her husband still go on occasion.  I don’t really know much about the Amish, except for what I have seen at the market, so I googled and want to share with you some facts about the Amish, found on the website

• The largest Amish settlements are in LaGrange County, Indiana; Holmes County, Ohio; and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

• The Amish do not draw social security, join the Army, or allow any form of assistance from the government.

• Some Amish communities, and or districts reject education beyond the eighth grade, particularly subjects that have little practical use for farm-life.

• When some Amish children enter adulthood they are expected to make an adult permanent commitment to the church, thus becoming baptized.  If an Amish child chooses not to become baptized, they are going through a period known as Rumspringa.  Rumspringa, to the Amish, is regarded as the period in an adolescences life leading up to serious courtship, which is connected to permanent commitment to the Amish life and church.  During this period is life (months or years) the adolescents are released from the church and its rules.  In some Amish communities those who do not permanently join the church are shunned.  Shunning is the act of deliberately avoiding or staying away from an individual or group.

• This Amish like to avoid the use of modern technologies such as electricity, but they certainly do not regard technology as evil or sin when such use of a modern technology is seen as a need, rather than vanity.  Each community differs as to which technological items are acceptable.

• Technologies such as the use of 12-volt batteries, electric generators, gas powered farm equipment, the use of chemical pesticides and GM(Genetically modified food crops) can be petitioned for acceptance into Amish lifestyle in many Amish communities.

• The Amish speak an unique High German dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German, in addition to English.  Sometimes there are differences in dialect amongst Amish Communities.

• Each Amish community may have a dress code that the community must follow, which may vary from one community to the next.

• Typically an Amish man will grow a beard after he gets married or after he is baptized in some communities.

• The Amish are affected by various heritable genetic disorders, which are largely due to the combination of the small population of Amish and the risk of inbreeding.

• Most Amish do not use automobiles; as a result, the prominent means of transportation, other than walking, is a horse and buggy. Colors and styles of buggies differ from one Amish community to the next.

• Generally, the Amish go without electricity, electronic entertainment (television, radio, video games, etc.), central heating or air conditioning systems and automobiles.

• The home of an Amish family averages seven children and almost 25% have ten or more children.

• In most Amish communities, the homes are not far apart from each other allowing close personal contact with parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

The next facts were taken from Kimberly Ripley at Amishlessons.gather.com:

The Amish frequently refer to themselves as plain. The Plain People, as they’re often called, believe that dressing in anything other than plain modest clothing is prideful, and pride is a sin. Amish families live simple, but hardworking and fulfilling lives.

The Amish are Anabaptists. They believe that a person should make their own decision to become baptized and join the church as adults, rather than through infant baptism as is practiced in some religions. Amish men and women typically commit to baptism around age 18, and many are married shortly thereafter.

Amish teenagers experience a period of time called Rumschpringa (there are a few variations on the spelling of this term), during which many try out forbidden “pleasures” of the outside world. Many drive cars and some even own one; typically housing it out of sight behind a barn or in a non-Amish family’s yard. Some visit other Amish communities to experience their varied ways. Many wear non-Amish clothing when not in the family home. Girls experiment with make-up and fashion. Boys might cut their hair differently from the traditional Amish cut.

As of 2005, more than 80% of Amish teens tired of the fast paced life in the “English” world and returned to be baptized and join the Amish church. More than 90% of that group will remain in the Amish community for life.

Although farming has traditionally been the mainstay of the Amish people, many have turned to trade work like woodworking or metalworking. A higher percentage work outside the family and even outside the Amish community each year. It is not uncommon to find Amish workers in restaurants, small stores, and motels. Many Amish men work in modular home manufacturing plants.

The Amish believe that having their picture taken is the same as bearing a graven image. Since this is forbidden in the Bible, they don’t believe in being the subject of photographs. Some Amish don’t mind being photographed if their faces aren’t featured. Never photograph an Amish person without their permission.

The Amish live by a biblical view that comes from the book of Romans, chapter  12, verse 2.  “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

To the Amish, many of our common modern innovations are deemed worldly. Electricity links them to the outside world, so many Old Order Amish communities forbid it. The same goes for telephones. In recent years, however, some communities have opted to allow one phone per every few Amish homes. It is kept in a phone shanty or shack, or even in a barn. It cannot be inside the home.

Cars may be ridden in but not driven by the Old Order Amish, but many New Order Amish communities allow them. Televisions and computers are completely disallowed by the Old Order Amish, but in some New Order Amish communities are allowed for business purposes.

Rules vary from community to community, but all are governed by each Amish community’s individual church, led by a bishop. Everything from manner of dress to bans of excommunication are decided by the bishop and his elders.

Well now that we all know more about the Amish, I have included some pictures that I took from the Windmill market (this was before I knew that they do not like to be photographed).

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About Stacey

Life is a journey that I believe we are meant to walk together...so please Walk a Mile with me. View all posts by Stacey

10 responses to “Amish country

  • diane mann

    Love your pics, Stacey! My camera is broken, but you’ve inspired me to get ahold of Nikon and get on with getting it fixed! Thanks for the history of Amish, too. We visited them once in Indiana. So different from us!

  • michaeljones909

    Really enjoyed your post…
    I like the amish very much,I can see why 90% return and stay….

  • Crowing Crone Joss

    Many years ago, I came across a herd of horses amongst the Pennsylvania Amish. The image has stayed in my mind as one of such beauty and freedom.

  • Patti

    That bench is gorgeous – so is the fudge!

  • therealsharon

    Yea, the Amish will get very offended if they see you taking a photo of them or know you did….
    I’m very intrigued by them, I had heard a lot about them but then staying in Indiana with my family, I saw them a lot…even at the stores. I would always be fascinated and ask questions to my family when I saw them and really wanted to learn everything I could about them. I even bought a little book that talks about their beliefs and ways. It’s just so interesting how they can give up so much….

    I always thought the Shunning thing was so cruel and I still think it’s sad but I found out that the teens are allowed to go out on Rumspringa before they decide if they want to get baptized or not. I saw many of them that were going through this period when I went to Shisphewanna (a flea market) where they sell a bunch of things. I saw some of them wearing regular clothes, smiling and laughing about make up and cute fashions and heard them talking to each other in their Pennsylvania Dutch and German….Lots of schools in Indiana actually teach German because of this. Two of my nieces in Indiana took German.
    If after going through Rumspringa, a teen decides to leave the Amish world, they can do so usually without shunning as long as they are not baptized yet. It’s still a hard thing because they are entering a new world completely with less educational background and going from seeing their family constantly to not as much, so most of them decide to return and get baptized. Once you are baptized in to the Amish, if you decide to leave, they WILL shun you. You are then not allowed to see or speak to your Amish family again….It’s no wonder so many decide to stay.

    • Stacey

      I really didn’t know too much about them or the culture and as amazed at what I found/read online. I felt badly about taking their pictures once I got home and then read that.

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