Who are the Amish?
The Amish are a humble people that strongly believe in the ways of their Forefathers. continuing to live, dress, and worship as the Amish had a hundred years ago. Therefore, the Amish deny themselves the help of modern conveniences, such as the telephone, automobiles, modern farming equipment, lights, television, etc. Generally, anything that requires electricity.
Why you might ask? . . .
It says it all in a bible verse:
'. . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another,
and be clothed with humility:
for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humbled.'
(1 Peter 5:5 KJV)
The Amish are a very religious and hardworking people. Their strong concept of family helps to teach their children the value of hard work and cooperation from a very early age, making theirs a peaceful and loving community.
The Amish settlements are divided into church districts or Gemeide (congregations) with the number in each district rarely exceeding 35 families. Church districts are small so that services can be held in a member's farm, home, or barn. These services are held on the Dresden (or threshing) floor of the barn. On Saturday, all the women in the district gather and bake bread, pies and prepare other refreshments for the service.
They are masters of the field, able to turn the worst land into a productive farm. Since there is no use of modern equipment, the farms are small and are only used to feed one's family. The Amish do not farm for profit. In fact, any profits that are made are put directly back into the soil. The Amish also refuse any governmental farming benefits.
Amish men wear hats for practicality and because it is their custom. The females must have their heads covered out of respect to God and their husbands. Even the very young girls must have their heads covered, and they do not cut their hair. The men must grow a beard after they have been married. The clothing style is much as it was in the Amish community back in the 17th and 18th century. Most of this is homemade. Hooks and eyes are required on all men's coats and vests. The men's pants are broad-fall style. A Mutze is a special tail coat that is worn to church.
Can a non-Amish person join the faith and lifestyle?
Although it is very unlikely, it is possible and has happened. It would require a great deal of self-discipline and dedication. Not to mention the hours upon hours of formal instruction in the Amish beliefs, customs, and language.