Amish Culture

January 10, 2018

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Amish is a Christian society in Europe and North America that is generally seen as remnants of agrarian revolution. This can be attributed to the fact that they have not changed much for the last two hundred years in terms of culture. Some of their conspicuous characteristics include simple dressing and avoidance of formal education after a certain stage. They usually practice minimal interactions with other societies and this is manifested in their customs of marrying within the group. Other significant distinction is their tendency to avoid commodities that are associated with technological advancement such as automobiles. They also shun government provisions: for instance, insurance schemes and social security. Although they have general characteristics, their morals sometimes differ slightly from one settlement to another.

Dominant Values of Amish People

Some of their core values include humility where members are brought up by promoting the interests of the community. In fact, individuals are discouraged from any activities that may seem to promote themselves. This is anchored in their cultural values where it is seen as abomination by the general community. Secondly, Amish society always advocates traditional ways of doing things rather that progression or simply adapting new sophisticated means. For example, they generally prefer the use of buggies as mode of transport instead of automobiles. Thirdly, work ethics especially physical work is seen as one way of honoring God. Fourthly, Godliness is highly advocated where they involve God in most of their daily lives where He is the ultimate answer to their being. Fifth is pacifism where they strongly believe in peaceful coexistence of people irrespective of their background. It is this belief that has made them to shun joining the army. Lastly, they promote communism instead of individualism where Amish members are expected to serve the welfare of others and church.

Values that Guide Direction that Social Change Might Take

In the epoch of rapid modernization and change in economic dynamics, Amish society has been forced to change in some aspects. Their continued increase in population means they cannot continue to rely on the decreasing farms for their survival. This has prompted them to change their economic activities albeit under some core values. The value of communism runs supreme even as they venture into business. For example, their businesses are small, run in different schedules and community based. This helps them to maintain solidarity which is one of their core values. Their Godliness, family and self-sufficient value has made them to venture into cottage industry rather than the formal employment. This is due to their desire to maintain their family values which dictate father leadership hence need for them to work around their homes. In factories, they might also lack time for their religious duties and working in employment contradicts their beliefs in a way which emphasis self-sufficient.

Shared Language and Linguistic Symbols

Amish community has relatively maintained their native language due to their separation values. In their homes they normally speak Pennsylvanian German also known as Pennsylvanian Dutch. The language is widely used in church especially in preaching, prayers and songs. It was borrowed form Europe and Germany in particular as the Amish people migrated to North America in the 18th century. One of the characteristic of the language is the fact it lacks standard pattern spelling in the written form. However, they used English in their schools or when communicated with non-members. The language has been used to keep up their social identity and nominate their cultural values. It also plays a significant role in helping the community to connect their heritage and that they support separation views have aided to a large extent to maintain it intact. Conversely, there is a small minority from Indiana that is known to speak Bernese Swiss.

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Religion and Spirituality

Although they borrow their religious practices from contemporary Christianity, in almost every aspect they have distinctive features. Some of these differences are rooted to their books written in the 16th century at the pinnacle of liberal Christian persecution. They used a book known as “Martyrs Mirrors” or Ausbund which narrates about Anabaptist martyrs and encompasses doctrines, therefore, advocates martyrdom and sacrifice in times of adversity. Additionally, they follow articles known as “Dordrecht” that normally assert for refusal to swear, baptism rituals and pacifism. What is more, they also recite written prayers unlike most cotemporary Christians, who generally compose theirs. These prayers include evening, morning, traveler, prayer for children by parent and pre-sermon prayers. Their religion advocates the simple way of life without indulging in worldly lifestyle such as leisure and accumulation of wealth. At the same time, their faith emphasizes for simple life, caring for their neighbors and humility. They argument is coined from Jesus way of life where material things are considered vanity and root of evil to some extent. The children are not considered members of the church until the age of eighteen when they are baptized.

Correct Behavior for Day-To-Day Life

Amish acceptable norms are normally oral or written and are generally known as “Ordinug,” and they differ from one Amish community to another. One of their accepted behaviors is dress code, which has to be simple and made at home using traditional fabrics. They are also forbidden to wear belts, sweaters or pockets. Furthermore, they are not supposed to use electronic gadgets such as smartphones in their day-to-day life. Their culture dictates they show humility in their everyday life. This means nobody is allowed to do things that promote themselves or make them look superior to others. In addition, Amish also ought to participate in their day-to-day life activities, especially domestic chores which are mainly divided according to gender. Besides, individuals should adhere to religious ritual (for example, prayers) in everyday basis. The members are also expected to avoid interaction with non-believers and to solely rely on their fellow members in order to prevent temptations to sin.

Highest Intellectual and Artistic Achievements of the Group

One of their unique contributions is paintings which, as a rule, depict nature such as sky, trees and doves. Their pieces of arts therefore try to bring simplicity and nature – two important things that are emphasized by their culture. They also enjoy some music – harmonica – generally played by small groups using simple instruments. This is combined with their hymns. The latter are difficult to really know because their tunes are slow, and they move from one syllable to another. Amish religious books present their literature which generally advocates for their core values like humility and handwork. In fact, their contributions in art or writing demonstrate their religious or traditional practices.

Formal Behavioral Traditions Rituals

Their behaviors normally follow a certain order including dress code, non-use of technology, haircut or marriage that prohibits divorce. Some of their rituals invole ceremonies like weddings and funerals. In their weddings, the couple is kept secret until the last few days when they are revealed. These rituals are usually simple: the bride makes her own wedding dress, which is normally blue in color, and the ceremony is usually held in the brides home. Their funerals are typically simple: people are buried using locally made coffins and their graves usually lack tombstones. All this is to symbolize their simple nature in line with their doctrines statement that everybody is equal. Lastly, baptism is a very important ritual in terms of joining the church formally for the young adults.

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Dominant Pattern of Living Including Housing Architecture and Farm Use

Commonly, their farms are around forty acres per family. They are usually well divided to accommodate various activities. Most of the farms specialize of growing vegetables, corns, wheat, tobacco and livestock. Such agricultural enterprises are normally cultivated using old machinery often horse-driven since their religion values shun technology. Amish houses always reflect their core values in every way. They tend to be big and, in most cases, two-storied to accommodate a large family, which is part of their religious belief. Their houses are normally decorated with colors of nature such as white, blue, brown and green. The kitchens are made in a way they can preserve fruits, vegetables or meat due to their nature of producing surplus. Their houses usually tend to have large porches: they do not use gadgets like television hence they spend time there relaxing and talking about religion.

General Observation in the Amish Society

Although the Amish society has tried to hold to their traditions for almost two hundred years, some of their characteristics are being eroded slowly. This can be attributed to the economic challenges that are forcing representatives of this culture to work elsewhere. Such situation appears to compliment their income from the farm, which is diminishing each day due to the population increase. This has led to fathers, who play a central role in the family and religion, move in search of income thus adversely affecting their social order. The group has also split into two: one generally is using electricity and other technologies while the other still has conservative approach. This means that variations in some instances are observed as compared to old generations. Nevertheless, they still maintain over eighty percent of their values including dressing style and language.