The Amish way of life in Lancaster County has remained largely unchanged since they settled there 300 years ago.
On the surface, the Pennsylvania Amish lifestyle may seem steady and inflexible. However, it reflects a lifestyle based on a genuine interpretation of the Bible, as well as unwritten rules by Amish Ordnung that describe the behavior, appearance, and other aspects of Amish culture. The resulting Amish community in Pennsylvania is a community of humility, modesty, obedience, equality and simplicity, according to rtv21.tv
The family is the most important social unit among the Amish of Pennsylvania; those with seven to ten children are not uncommon. This high birth rate feeds the growing Amish community in Pennsylvania, as does the fact that four out of five children choose to be baptized and stay in church. Jobs, friendships and business opportunities provide incentives to stay.
With several generations often living under the same roof, there is a sense of continuity and participation in family life. As they reach their teens, many young people engage in traditional entertainment, but others engage in modern-day activities rather than choosing whether or not to be baptized as an adult in the church.
In Amish society, elderly family members are respected and cared for by the family and community, often shifting to a separate home addition. Pennsylvania Amish generally do not accept Social Security and try to avoid using nursing homes.
Amish dress style
The characteristic Amish style of simple dress is the most obvious outward manifestation of their faith, purity, and social separation from the world. It demonstrates group loyalty and identity, as well as a willingness to submit to group standards.
Pennsylvania Amish men wear dark-colored suits, straight-cut coats without jackets, skirts, scarves, solid-color shirts, black socks and shoes, and black hats or wide-brimmed straws. Shirts are fastened with conventional buttons; coats and suit vests are fixed with hooks and eyes. Men do not wear mustaches and generally wait until after marriage to grow a beard.
Amish women wear modest, brightly colored dresses, usually with long sleeves and a full skirt, a cape and apron. The dressing is fixed with straight pins or ruptures. The hair is never cut and put on the bun at the back of the head, hidden by a prayer cover. Single women in their teens and twenties wear black veils of prayer for church services; a white veil is worn in most cases by women of all ages. Pennsylvania Amish women are not allowed to wear jewelry or printed fabrics.
At home and in their community, the Amish in Pennsylvania speak a dialect of German. This language, originally known as Pennsylvania Deutsch, has gradually become known as German Pennsylvania, or Dutch Pennsylvania. The use of this dialect binds the Pennsylvania Amish together and naturally limits interaction with non-Amish. Amish children learn English in school and also study German for worship services.
The Amish taboo on electricity has become one of the public symbols of their separation from the world. Because public power and utility lines provided a genuine and mysterious connection to the outside world, the use of the energy produced by them - and by power plants - is prohibited. This ban has prevented secular influences from interfering in the home and has silenced endless debates over the use of new electrical appliances such as radios, televisions and other appliances. While the 110 volt power generated by utility lines is prohibited, independent 12 volt batteries are unconnected to the outside world and are therefore allowed.
To empower tools for the villa industry, farm equipment and some household appliances, Amish in Pennsylvania become creative, using air or hydraulic engines. This pressure can be used for larger household appliances, such as washing machines and sewing machines, but not smaller ones, such as dryers, toasters, microwaves, televisions and doorbells. Packaged gas is used to operate major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and water heaters. Home freezers have been banned for fear they would lead to other electrical appliances. To light their homes and shops, the Amish use pressurized gas lanterns to mount on walls, hang from ceilings, and attach to moving carts.
Amish hold humility as a very precious value and see pride as a threat to community harmony. Because items such as personal photos can emphasize individuality and draw attention to themselves, they are forbidden in their homes. Moreover, the Amish believe that the pictures in which they can be identified violate the biblical commandment, "Do not make yourself an engraved image." They want to be remembered by the life they have led and the examples they have set, not by their physical appearance.
Just as Amish do not keep personal photos or display them at home, they do not want others to photograph them. Many visitors to Lancaster County find it difficult not to do so. However, if there is one thing that seems to frustrate the Amish, it is the tourists who try to take their picture. Please follow our instruction not to take pictures in which faces are distinct. Refraining from taking pictures is more than just etiquette; is a respect for our Amish neighbors and their way of life.21Media