The Amish culture was part of the Anabaptist movement in Swiss brethren that began in the 16th century. According to history the Amish is believed to take part in the radical reformation. The Anabaptist means a person who will be baptized again. Those who believed in Anabaptist had a freedom to choose whether they want to join a church or not. The Amish were a part of the Mennonite with whom they did not see eye to eye on some issues such as the shunning of people who do not follow their system and the factor of purity (Good 1979). The name Amish was named after a Swiss Mennonite leader called Jacob Amman between the periods of 1656 to 1730.
He believed that people should have their communion twice every year compared to the original once annually. The reigning church powers such as Catholics and the Protestants did not agree on the ways the Anabaptist practiced their rituals. The process of baptizing individuals again as grownups was seen as a taboo therefore, those who practiced this were subjected to persecution like being burned to the stake, their heads being chopped off and they are not fed once imprisoned. This caused the Amish to flee from their homes because of fear of being persecuted. They went to Germany where they were not welcomed thus had to run to the United States where they were allowed practicing their religion in the 18th century (Nolt 1992). Those who remained in Europe had to join with Mennonites in order to have survived thus protect one another.
In the United States, they settled in Pennsylvania that is well known to have a rich and fertile soil. They were increasing in numbers therefore, it caused them to branch out into other areas such as Iowa, Illinois, New York and Ohio. This caused changes in all the Amish members especially in their mannerism because of their surroundings. Up to date the Amish people still practice the 19th century way of culture such as they do not have electricity, they are traditions who believe in working extremely hard with farming and they are very obedient. The Amish people are well known because of their culture, economy and religion beliefs from the beginning of the future.
The Amish people despite people’s views they are Christians. They believe in practicing it rather than debating it, which can lead to politicizing churches. The other reasons that make many people not to see that they practice Christianity is their way of living conservatively, the lack of evangelism and their way of having baptism when they are older or as adults. The only reason why they do not show their way of evangelism was because of the torture and persecution they received earlier own (Good 1979). This taught them to be very conspicuous in practicing their religion. They do not have churches thus they use their homes to practice their religion or to hold masses.
This has given them identify thus religion becomes their way of life and part of their customs. During the mass, both the men and women are split in order to enter the church separately. Research shows that the elderly Amish takes up the front seats while women who have children are meant to sit at the back of the church. The children are given sweets to shut them up and they can sit with either of their parents. According to Amish they have a choice on whether to be baptized or not without any consequence. By having baptism, one is held at a high esteem and becomes part of the community.
During this period, before baptism the youth are given an opportunity to go and see the outside world, thus they are given an opportunity to choose whether they want to be baptized and live in accordance to their laws. The recent years the young Amish are given an opportunity to listen to non-Amish songs and are given a chance to watch movies with their friends before making their decisions in their late teen years. According to the research that is conducted even though the youth are exposed to the outside world, they tend to choose to stick to their roots.
The Amish are well known for being farmers and well known to be good at it. The farmers farm are made like family farms that tend to be very efficient for family needs. In the past, the farmers were not allowed to have big farming operations. Presently due to the increase of cost of living, the Amish has turned their farming crops, animals into businesses in order to buy land. They have also started selling their carpentry, dry goods and crafts. The foods consumed by the Amish people are cereals, tomatoes, peas, vegetables and beets. The farming is a job that is made by all family members but when it comes to how the food is stored or cooked this then becomes women’s jobs especially housewife (Nolt 1992).
Both men and women are in charge of the money in the household, because they both facilitate in bringing the revenue. The Amish people do not a currency of their own, therefore they use the American dollar to pay bills. The Amish people put their money in the banks and whatever business they do, they pay their monthly taxes. Some of the Amish people have money thus are measured as wealthy, they however do not flaunt their money. The rich among the Amish are not many but according to the government most of them live below the poverty line.
Marriage and courtship
The Amish courtship has begun just like any other courtship. The age to begin courtship is 16 years. The youth are able to interact in social events such as churches, singing and youth gatherings. The Amish parents have given their children enough freedom to do whatever they please. This will enable them to meet new people whom they can choose to have as their life partners. This is all done before they decide to follow the church. The courting starts when the male and female meet in secret and when the male drives the female back to their homes after going to church (Scolforo 2010). The courtship should be between two Amish person’s butt when they involve a non-Amish they stand the risk of being banished from the community.
There are rules when it comes to marriages among the Amish like people who are said to be primary cousins it is an inviolable to get married. In the past, the wedding was a small event that was conducted by the family members and invited a few friends. The ceremony was done immediately after the Sunday mass. The duration of the ceremony in church will be fours hours. In the wedding, the whole community gets involved because they provide their blessings to the bride and groom by giving small speeches and singing (Nolt 1992).
According to research done, recently the wedding is specifically done on Tuesdays and Thursdays in either November to the beginning of December. The bride wears a simple line blue dress without any make up or jewelry. The dress she wears it should be capable to be worn again in the future for any occasion that will occur. The main food taken is the cereal. After the wedding is completed, the bride and the groom spend their night in the bride’s home.
The family structure
According to the Amish way of living, the family is an extended. A family is usually comprised of the father, mother and seven children and occasionally the grandparents. The family should be very close and communicate with the other members such as cousins. Their source of livelihood is through agriculture therefore, they are able to work together as a family. The Amish community has expanded because of the big families that exist. The grandparents are the root of a family for they are the ones who gave knowledge to their children that have enabled its continuation of the family. When a couple gets pregnant, the name of the children is named after other family members in the community such as grandparents, cousins, nieces and uncles.
According to the research, the Amish women’s work is meant to be at home after being married. Their main responsibility is taken care of the children by ensuring that they get an education and discipline, cook and doing other house chores. In the family the head of is said to be the husband. There full responsibility is to ensure that the finances are in top shape. Both mother and father of the house make most of the important decisions. The husband or men in the community are the only ones accepted to do the church duties such as praying and preaching of the word of God. Research shows that an Amish woman whose seems to be pregnant has the responsibility to look after the pregnancy properly until the day she gives birth (Scolforo 2010). This has been adopted from the beginning until now and perhaps in the future.
The Amish community they respect the government without any obstacles. They are known to encourage people to follow the rules this is because they are strict followers of the bible scriptures. There are some things that government have such as the use of force when individuals have wronged. The Amish believe in banishing people who are going against their culture and thus they do not use capital punishment (Nolt 1992). The other reason for not using force is the ill-treatment they receive because of practicing their faith. The Amish people prefer to serve God thus when it reaches a time when they have to choose between good a man they will always choose god first before everything even their lives. They are very punctual when it comes to payment of their taxes thus the government sometimes leave them alone to do as they please.
The Amish people are known to be healthy because they consume healthy foods. According to researches most Amish people get genetic disorder where they are likely to get the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disorders. This occurs on rare occasions and when it does, it becomes fatal for all who are sick.
Future of Amish culture
The Amish culture has surpassed what people were expecting because many thought they would be extinct by now. The future of the Amish people is unknown or is unpredictable. This is because there are many factors that are threatening the existence of them. A good example is the pressure they receive from the civil government. The Amish have rules that they follow that sometimes coincide with that of the government. This may cause the government to act and some of the Amish people may end up being imprisoned (Scolforo 2010). The other factor that greatly affects the future of the Amish community is the internal politics.
This brings about a rift between the members of the community thus they start moving out of the places they are staying and move to other areas and states. The need to make business due to the increase of living especially land and other basic equipments. This drives the people to be business oriented which is not a part of the Amish culture. Another factor that affects the future of the Amish culture is the overgrowing population. This will cause them to move to the urban areas where their culture could be compromised.
In conclusion, the Amish culture is one of the strongest in history. Researches show that there have been many factors over the years that would have caused the culture to fade, but due to their strong acceptance of who they are, has made the Amish culture to be what it is now. In the near future no one can predict whether the culture will still have followers or if it will be extinct. This is one culture that may take a while for them to adopt the culture of people surrounding them.
Good, M. A. (1979). 20 Most Asked Questions about the. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Good Books.
Nolt, S. M. (1992). A History of the Amish. Intercourse, Pennsylvania: Good Books.
Scolforo, M. (2010). “Amish Population Growth: Numbers Increasing, Heading Wes. The Huffington Post.