Culture is referred to being ‘the way of the life’ for a society. It usually includes sharing the same traditions, beliefs, values, and choice of the clothing. Groups of people with the same culture will usually live together in a community and will live their lives according to their culture, following their society rules. The Amish community is culture which is very different to other cultures, their lifestyles are simple and plain and they are very religious people. They also have strong beliefs in the way they live. The Amish culture has very strong beliefs.
They follow the bible for a good life as they believe the bible is god’s words. They believe in adult baptism. They give up all selfish thoughts and believe god wants them to submit to his guidance and serve others. Amish are referred to as pacifists, they are against all types of violence war, fighting, conflict and gun use, and they feel that it is wrong to take life as they believe only god can take life. They also believe that having luxuries are against the will of god as they are not plain and simple, they believe that you should be humble not proud and should live simple lives and focus on what god wants.
They also feel that it is important to work hard to gain favour with god. Amish also feel that they should remain separate from rest of society and believe that people should be excommunicated if they cannot follow the rules. This shows that most of their beliefs are linked to god because they want to do well by him. The Amish culture is mainly based in parts of the USA, most commonly in parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Amish culture consists of many unique beliefs that make their ways unlike any other culture. Amish believe that God is pleased when people work in harmony with nature, and care for animals and plants.
Amish always live in rural communities. Their lifestyle is dictated by the ordnung. The ordnung is a set of rules that govern the community. The elders, (older men) make the rules and the decisions for the community. The rules are guidelines for living, covering aspects of the Amish life, including clothing, leisure, activities, work and worship. They lead a life of simplicity but still have harsh ways of doing things. The children are expected to work at a young age, and they stop going to school at the age of 14. They are mainly a farming community, so most of their work is based on farming.
However the Amish don’t farm like others do, because they don’t use the modern technology that we use. This is because they believe that all modern technology such as cars, buses, trains, TV, mobile phones, computers, telephones and electricity etc, all undermine their principles. On the farms they use simple machinery, milk cows by hand, water wheels are used to pump water and skills like carpentry are highly regarded They use a horses for transport and farm work. But it is common for Amish communities to allow the use of telephones, but not in the home. Even when women make the food they do not use electrical appliances.
They also use bells as a form of communication. The usually have church services in their own homes. The Amish are very religious people, religion is the main reason they chose to have plain and simple lives, as they feel they its important to live simple lives and focus on what god wants. They also believe that only adults should get baptized, this is mainly because they feel that when the children are older they should be allowed to chose whether they want to follow they’re parents and make a permanent commitment to God and the community, or whether they want to leave and join the outside world.
The clothes they wear also reflect on their plain and simple ways. There clothing styles are encouraged to separate them from the world. Clothing is made at home from plain fabric. Women and girls wear dresses with long sleeves from one solid colour and a bonnet. All skirts have to be halfway between the knee and floor. Married women wear black bonnets and single women wear white ones. Amish women are not permitted to wear clothing with patterns or jewellery. They never cut their hair, and wear it tied up in a bun.
The role of women is very traditional; they are expected to take care of the home and children. Amish men wear dark trousers and shirts. They always have to wear hats. Married men cannot shave their beard after they get married. Amish try to look as plain as possible, so they avoid buttons, patterns, jewellery etc as they believe that they are a sign of pride and showing off. The Amish speak a form of German mixed with English. They have very little to do with anyone outside the Amish faith. Those who are not in the Amish community are referred to as ‘English’.
Music and dancing are not allowed as they believe they’re not plain and simple. In the film witness we see an example of not being allowed to dance and listen to music when Rachel, the Amish women starts dancing with john book, the ‘English’. She is then told by one of the elders that she will be on the verge of being shunned if she carries on breaking the rules. Shunning is when you get ignored from the culture; they cannot sit and eat at the same table as you or talk to you. Those who leave the Amish culture marry an outside or break the rules, get shunned.
This shows that Amish are very strict with their rules, and want people in their culture to respect the rules and follow the lifestyle set by the rules. In conclusion the Amish are basically good, hard-working people, who have to make sure they stay on the right path, so they get final rewards in Heaven when life is over. There are many strengths and weakness within their culture. Their community is a safe place as there is no crime and very little pollution as they don’t use cars, tractors, planes, etc, also they have very good community spirits, as the whole community comes together to help each other.
However, they miss out on a lot of modern technology, which is quite important because if they had TVs then they might get to know a bit more about what’s going on in the world around them, also children should be more educated and stay in school for longer than till the age of 14 because its important for children to get proper education. The Amish culture is also too isolated. I think that they should encourage tourism so that they can interact with the ‘English’. It can also bring in money for their community because they could sell some hand made things as souvenirs for the tourists.
It can also help increase their understanding of the outside world. Amish teenagers get a chance to interact with the outside world. They can experience life outside the community for a year to decide whether they wish to become full baptized members of the community. This is called rumspringa. During their time they get to live like ‘English’ teenagers, having freedom and can experience modern technology and even smoking and drinking. At the end of their rumspringa they choose whether to come back and stay Amish or leave and join the outside world.
Some choose to leave the Amish culture, as they get influenced by the things that they are missing out, but usually the majority stays, and chooses to be baptized as Amish, this is mainly because they are used to the way they live and don’t feel they fit in with the world outside Amish. I think that teenagers in the future will decided to stay in their Amish community, because as much as they get influenced, it’s too modern to what they’re used to and cannot keep up with all the new technology.
Also they have been bought up in the Amish way, so they feel comfortable in their own community. Overall I think that the beliefs of the Amish have a major affect on their lifestyle, as their beliefs give them their limits of how they can live. It also links everything together as for each belief of theirs there is a link with different aspects of their life i. e. attitudes, values, tradition, customs, technology, clothing etc. It also has a major affect because I think that without their beliefs, they would have a totally different lifestyle to what they have now.