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5 Things You Might Not Know about the Amish

I’m learning a lot about the Amish as I research my latest book. What are some of the most interesting things?

1. The Wisconsin Amish are very conservative Old Order. Rumpspringa isn’t wild here as it is back east. Rumpspringa mostly means the time when courting is done. Some Amish moved to Wisconsin because of this.

2. That Amish only have faceless dolls is a myth. That rumor somehow got started and now the English associate faceless dolls with Amish. They have sold many of the dolls because of this. In their homes, though, you may well see a doll with a face.

3. At least in Wisconsin, the Amish women and children don’t wear shoes in the summer to lessen the wear and tear on their shoes. What a way to be frugal. I’ve seen barefoot women in the grocery store.

4. They love to laugh. While they may appear to be rather subdued and stoic, they love to have fun, just like anyone else. They fish, skate, and play volleyball, among other things. I was a little shocked the first time one of them told me they were hoping for a snow day!!

5. And they are friendly to outsiders (English). Just don’t get too close.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Liz. I’ve enjoyed some unique experiences with former-Amish; my husband & I are English parents to an Amish runaway, and my daughter married a former whose dad is a Bishop. We’ve been on a steep learning curve about the Amish (and formers) here in Ohio, although our “son” was raised in upstate NY.

    I’ve heard The Wisconsin Amish are a conservative Old Order. My “son” and SIL are from the Swartzentruber Order – more strict, legalistic & punitive than Old Order…if you can imagine. They’ve told me that Rumpspringa isn’t spoken about nor encouraged among Swartzies (a nickname higher orders put on the Swartzentrubers). And they do date – the bed bundling – in their teen years. So for them Rumpspringa was not when courting is done.

    I respect that you distinguish between Wisconsin Amish (Old Order) and others because often people think all Amish are the same – nothing could be farther from the fact. There are more than 15 identified Orders, each with their own rules and Ordnung. I’ve found this culture to be like an onion, each layer of info reveals a new one.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Brenda. I cannot guess at what life must be like for the Swartzendrubers, but I had heard they are far more strict. No bed bundling here, but they do have open courting buggies and often have chaperones with them. It has been fascinating to learn about them. Glad you stopped by!