Amish Facts Most People Wouldn’t Know

Little-Known Amish Facts

The Amish evoke lots of pleasant associations. Quiet, austere lives spent in close relationship with the land. Simple aesthetics. Family values and unostentatious piety. But, like any culture, the Amish are more complicated than their stereotype. There is a lot about the Amish you probably don’t know.

Were you aware that marriage is mandatory in Amish communities? Or that they refuse to pay into social security?

These facts about the Amish might revise some of the assumptions you had about what life in their world actually looks like. Some of their cultural practices are charming, and some are downright bizarre.

The Amish Were Originally Mennonites


The Amish were originally named after Jakob Ammann, a Swiss Anabaptist who belonged to the Mennonite Church. Ammann was a biblical literalist whose views alienated many of his Mennonite peers.

Ammann was the head of a religious sect within the Mennonite Church that eventually broke away and formed its own community. That community is what we now refer to as the Amish.

The Amish Aren’t Baptized Until They’re 16

In order to be confirmed as an adult member of the Amish community, you must first be baptized. The Amish baptism is different than the Catholic baptism, primarily in that it occurs between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five.

Until they are baptized, young Amish are not permitted to marry. Once they are baptized, they are allowed to marry only within their own community.

The Amish Practice Nonresistance

The Amish, like many other Christian sects such as the Quakers, are nonviolent. Their spiritual views are incompatible with violence and nonviolence is a policy strictly adhered to.

Amish men and women do not and cannot volunteer for the military. This did not stop the US government from drafting Amish men during World War II.

During WWII, the Amish experienced persecution for not participating in the War willingly.

Amish Dolls Are Faceless


The Amish believe that vanity is a sin. In order to discourage too much concern over appearance, they give their children faceless dolls to play with.

The belief is that the faceless dolls will draw the child’s attention away from superficial appearances.


Perhaps the most famous cultural tradition, Rumspringa is a brief period of time during a young Amish person’s transition to adulthood when they are permitted to experience life among the “English,” the Amish term for non-Amish people.

The rules of Rumspringa vary from community to community, but the general idea is that an Amish child who is about to become an adult is sent out into the world to experience a different way of life. They must then make a decision whether or not to be confirmed as Amish. If they decide to sever ties with their birth community, they are often shunned for the rest of their lives.

Rumspringa is typically associated with excess. Whether or not the real, lived Rumspringa is a booze-fueled party is less clear.

The Amish Don’t Play Instruments


Have you ever heard Amish music? Probably not. If you have, there were probably no instruments backing the vocals.

This is because the Amish believe musical instruments encourage pride and vanity. A reasonable point, perhaps.

All Amish music is performed a capella.

The Amish Are Growing

Humans Are Free

The Amish constitute a very small proportion of the American population. However, the Amish are growing in number.

Between 2000 and 2017, the Amish population swelled from about 175,000 individuals to 300,000.

A typical Amish family will have about six to seven children.

They follow strict gender roles


Amish gender relations are very much not in keeping with the English sensibility. Gender roles are strictly adhered to, with women performing most or all of the housekeeping duties.

Amish women are expected to be wives and mothers, while Amish men perform farming labor.

In the Amish world, women are also expected to defer to their husbands’ wishes.

The Amish Do Shun

The Amish are famous for their policy of “shunning” wayward members of their flock, who transgress against an Amish ethical standard.

When someone is shunned, the blackout is less complete than sometimes portrayed. It is erroneously believed that nobody is allowed to speak to the shunned, but this is not always true. What is true is that the shunned person experiences various kinds of social stigma, like a ban on doing business with them, or being forced to eat all meals at a table by themselves.

Shunning is meant to punish, and to draw the shunned person back into the values of the church.


When someone in the Amish community commits a transgression that is severe enough, they may be excommunicated entirely.

They are banned from any form of communication with members of their Amish community, including family. They are also cast out of the village.

Anyone who is caught having any dealings with the excommunicated will also be excommunicated themselves.

They Drive Horses And Buggies

Popular Mechanics

The Amish are not permitted to use any modern machinery that requires electricity. There are allegedly people who break this rule in secret.

One of the banned technologies is the automobile. The Amish use horses and buggies for transportation. Young Amish also commonly use roller skates.

The Amish believe that having a car reduces that member’s reliance on the rest of the community for assistance, a bad thing.

They Do Actually Raise Barns

Along with the horse and buggy, the beard, and Rumspringa, perhaps the most famous Amish trope is the barn raising. Barn raising ceremonies do happen, and are culturally important.

Barn raisings occur when the Amish community combines their efforts to construct a barn for someone.

It is considered an important gesture of community solidarity.

Church Is Held In Living Rooms

Some Amish communities have designated church buildings in which religious services are held. However, they’re the exception to a rule.

Typically, Amish religious services are held on a rotating weekly basis in various community members’ homes.

This practice may be a holdover from the early days of Amish life, when they were still persecuted by the Mennonites.

Beards Have Symbolic Weight

As mentioned earlier, Amish men are famous for their long beards. Much like everything with the Amish, the beard has cultural significance.

An Amish man is only permitted to grow a beard once they marry. In fact, it is mandatory.

Amish men, however, are not allowed to grow mustaches.

The Meaning Of The Blue Dress

The Amish Clothesline

Women also have a system for signaling whether or not they are married. An Amish woman must sew herself a blue dress for their wedding day.

Married Amish women continue to wear the blue dress on Sundays, to religious services.

 The Amish Are Conservative

NBC 10

As could be expected, the Amish have a complicated and ambiguous relationship with politics. Where they are politically engaged, they tend to vote Republican.

There are, of course, exceptions. There are also many Amish who believe that matters of public affairs should be kept entirely separate from religious life.

Regardless of political affiliation or lack thereof, the Amish still believe that Biblical law supersedes secular law.

Children Go To One-Room Schoolhouses

Amish children are usually educated in one-room schoolhouses. Classes are taught by a community member.

When the children grow to a certain age, they are required to undertake vocational training in the larger community.

Typically, this training is oriented towards farming, carpentry, weaving, or other skills that are useful in the Amish community.

No Photos

The Amish subscribe to the belief that it is unlawful to voluntarily have one’s picture taken. Outside visitors to Amish communities are routinely issued strong warnings not to attempt to take photos of the Amish.

This belief stems from the fact that a fixed image is unnatural, and therefore a potential inroad for Satanic influence.

The Dabbler

One of the reasons why the Amish community is growing is that it is exceptionally rare for members to eschew Amish life. An estimated eighty to ninety percent of young Amish who participate in Rumspringa choose to remain in their birth community.

When you weigh a year of binge drinking against never being able to see your family again, it’s understandable why they would make that choice. It may also be a testament to the strength of the Amish community, or a weakness in our own.


Public History Corner

Remarkably, some Amish sects do permit their members to use cell phones. Most, however, do not.

Many Amish communities maintain a “community phone,” a single phone used to contact the English world.

Amish DUIs

The police consider a horse and buggy to be a vehicle. When driving a horse and buggy, therefore, the Amish are still subject to intoxication laws.

Alcohol is generally not sanctioned among the Amish, but there have been DUI horse and buggy cases.

Unsurprisingly, it is much more common for a young Amish person to get a DUI than an older one.

Dating Amish


It is forbidden for an Amish person to have a romantic relationship with anyone who is not a member of their community.

As a rule, Amish communities do not allow their members to court or marry the English. Some Amish sects are so strict that their members are not even permitted to have a relationship with an Amish person from a different community.

The Amish Have Less Cancer

Daily Health Post

The Amish sacrifice the majority of modern conveniences in order to pursue their way of life. One of the benefits is that the Amish have a lower incidence of cancers.

While we don’t know for certain exactly why this is the case, people have speculated that it may have something to do with their food.

Almost all of the food the Amish eat is cultivated from Amish land. The Amish are also heavily reliant on hard physical labor, keeping them in better shape for longer.

Some Amish Run Puppy Mills

If you’ve been on Facebook in the past five years, you’ve probably seen someone post about puppy mills. Puppy mills are dog breeding operations that sell puppies to chain pet stores. The puppies often live in squalid conditions before being shipped out.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania bears the dubious distinction of being the puppy mill capital of the country. Many of the Lancaster mills are run by the Amish.

Amish Crime

There is a single documented case of homicide within an Amish community. A mentally ill man named Edward Gingerich killed his wife Katie.

Gingerich served five years in prison before killing himself by hanging in 2011.

Life inside the Amish communities may not be as rosy as we perceive it to be from the outside. Multiple people who grew up in Amish communities have come forward with frightening accounts of domestic abuse and rape.


The Amish, as mentioned earlier, do not participate in the military. They also do not participate in any government-run assistance or insurance programs.

Amish people do not have social security cards. When they do, it’s only in order to opt out of Social Security and Medicare tax.

via: www.historyinorbit

The Unbelievable Origin Of Sayings Like “Piss Poor” And Others From A Much Simpler Time

The origin of these sayings from the past truly took me back in time.  It is hard to believe the term “raining cats and dogs” had such a bizarre beginning!

Check out these old sayings from the past to see which ones you remember or possibly still use to this day.



“They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot. Once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.

If you had to do this to survive, you were ‘piss poor.’

But worse than that were the really poor folks who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They ‘didn’t have a pot to piss in’ and were considered the lowest of the low.”


“Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.

However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.”


“Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.

The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women, and finally the children. Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!’”


“Houses had thatched roofs with thick straw-piled high and no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed.

Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.”


“The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the term, ‘dirt poor.’

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.

Hence, ‘a thresh hold.’”


“In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day, they lit the fire and added things to the pot.

They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, ‘Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.’

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.

It was a sign of wealth that a man could ‘bring home the bacon.’ They would cut off a little to share with guests, and would all sit around and ‘chew the fat.’”


“Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.

This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the ‘upper crust.’”


“Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.

Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom of holding a ‘wake.’”


“In old, small villages, local folks started running out of places to bury people.

So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside, and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (‘the graveyard shift’) to listen for the bell.

Thus, someone could be ‘saved by the bell,’ or was considered a ‘dead ringer.’

Now, whoever said history was boring?”

Viral Internet piece, as compiled by Flo Deems of ToneByTone

via: littlethings

Powerful Photos You Likely Did Not See In Your History Class

Have a look at these fascinating photos you probably did not see in your History class.


The best headline could be for everyone at the time of world war-II.history01

Prostitutes buying cocaine from Koks Emil on the streets in Berlin, 1929. history04

Opening ceremony of Woodstock, New York (1969)history08

Window Cleaning in New York (1933)history12

Demolition of Berlin Wallhistory16

The old Hollywood sign, 1923.history02


Mussolini’s headquarters, along with the Italian Fascist Party. (1934)history11

Football match between British and Germans during the Christmas truce of World War I (1914)history15

Final 4 couples after Chicago Dance Marathon.(1930)history05

Slave Auction, 1859.history09

American-African family during purchase in an isolated stand on ice cream in Alabama (1956)history14

Women in Chicago were arrested for wearing too short of swimming suit in 1922.history03

Suicide at Wall Street, Manhattan(1929).history06

Sunset Strip. (1979)The Sunset Strip is the name given to 2.4 km stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California. It extends from West Hollywood's eastern border with Hollywood at Havenhurst Drive, to its western border with Beverly Hills at Sierra Drive.

Skinheads and Hippies in Piccadilly Circus. (1969)history13

Bob Marley on the beach with Miss World Cindy Breakspeare, mother of Damien Marleyhistory17



Mind Blowing Facts Will Destroy Your Understanding Of Time

WOW!!  These facts truly are mind blowing!!

France was still executing people by guillotine when Star Wars came out.


Star Wars premiered in theaters in May 1977. The last execution by guillotine took place September 10th of the same year.

Every two minutes, we take as many photos as all of humanity took during the 1800s.

factsmindOn the left is the first photograph ever taken (1826), View from the Window at Le Gras by French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. On the right is a cat who accidentally took a picture of itself (2013). It’s estimated that in 2014, humans will take 880 billion photos (not including cats). In fact, 10% of all the photos ever taken were taken in the past 12 months.

Oxford University is older than the Aztecs.

factsmind2Teaching started in Oxford as early as 1096, and by 1249, the University was officially founded. The Aztec civilization as we know it began with the founding of Tenochtitlán in 1325.

Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was at the beginning of “The Fresh Prince.”

factsmind3When James Avery (Uncle Phil) started on The Fresh Prince, he was 45-years-old. Today, Will Smith is a slightly older 45.

In the span of 66 years, we went from taking flight to landing on the moon.

factsmind4In 1903 the Wright brothers successfully flew a plane for a whopping 59 seconds. 38 years later, in 1941, the Japanese used flight to bomb Pearl Harbor. Only 28 years after that, Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969.

There is more processing power in a TI-83 calculator than in the computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon.

factsmind5The guidance computer from the Apollo 11 mission ran at 1.024 MHz, about 1/6th of the processing power of a TI-83 calculator. One is used by students to play Tetris, the other took humans to the moon.

The oldest living person’s birth is closer to the signing of the Constitution than present day.

factsmind6Misao Okawa was born in 1898, an astonishing 116 years ago. The Constitution was signed in 1787, which makes her life 4 years closer to the historic Philadelphia convention than to today.

John Tyler, America’s 10th President, has two living grandchildren.

factsmind7John Tyler served from 1841 to 1845, a full 20 years before Abraham Lincoln. He had a son, Lyon, at age 63. Lyon would have Lyon Jr. and Harrison at 71 and 75, respectively. Both are still alive today and in their 80’s.

The first pyramids were built while the woolly mammoth was still alive.

factsmind8While most mammoths died out long before civilizations arose, a small populations survived until 1650 BC. By that point, Egypt was halfway through its empire, and the Giza Pyramids were already 1000 years old.

The fax machine was invented the same year people were traveling the Oregon Trail.

factsmind9The first fax machine was developed by Alexander Bain in 1843, meanwhile The Great Migration began across America.

Betty White is older than sliced bread.

factsmind10Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented sliced bread in 1928, while Betty White was born in 1922. Bread had existed prior, just not in the pre-sliced form.

This is what the difference in Olympic Gold looks like across 56 years of women’s vault.

factsmind11On the left, Larisa Latinya wins gold for the USSR in 1956. On the right, McKayla Maroney wins gold for the US in 2012.

Everything in this 1991 RadioShack ad exists in a single smartphone.

factsmind12Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, stated that over the history of computing, the number of transistors on circuits doubles approximately every two years. Moore’s Law has held true for over 40 years and successfully predicted our incredible advancement in mobile technology.

When Warner Brothers formed, the Ottoman Empire was still alive.

factsmind13Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner opened their first theater, the Cascade, in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1903. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire spanned from 1299 to 1923, when Turkey became an independent nation.

Harvard University was founded before calculus was derived.

factsmind14Harvard is the oldest higher education institution in the US, founded in 1636. Calculus wasn’t derived until later in the 17th century, with the work of Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton.

The last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series, women were not allowed to vote.

factsmind15The infamous cold streak by the Chicago Cubs baseball team extends back to 1908, when they won their second World Series. Women in the US acquired the vote in 1920.

Humans never fully experience the “present” – we’re always living in the past.

factsmind16Every human being is living at least 80 milliseconds in the past. David Eagleman believes that our consciousness lags behind actual events and that when you think an event occurs, it has already happened before your brain has a chance to create a cohesive picture of the world.

There was more time between the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus Rex than between the Tyrannosaurus Rex and you.

factsmind17The Stegosaurus lived ~150 million years ago, while the T-Rex lived only ~65 million years ago. Practically yesterday.

If you’re over 45, the world population has doubled in your lifetime.

factsmind18In 1968, the world population was 3,557,000,000. Today, the world population is 7,217,000,000 and grows by over 200,000 daily.

There are whales alive today who were born before Moby Dick was written.

factsmind19Some of the bowhead whales living off the coast of Alaska are well over 200 years old. They were born well before Moby Dick was written in 1851.

If the history of Earth were compressed to a single year, modern humans would appear on December 31st at about 11:58pm.

factsmind20The human race has lived on Earth for only 0.004% of the planet’s history.

If that’s not enough, this is what’s happening in the world at this very moment.

factsmind21This brilliant comic by artist XKCD is called Frequency. It’s one thing to talk about time…it’s another thing to feel it.

Our obsessive fascination with time is unique to the human race. Although we’ve tried to measure it, track it, and define it since the dawn of civilization, facts like these show us how inaccurate our perceptions can be and how much we have yet to learn about the fourth dimension. Share this post with others and enlighten them about time!


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