Differences Between Amish and Horse & Buggy Mennonites
How to Distinguish Mennonites from Amish
If you've ever been to many rural areas of the United States, you might have heard the terms "Amish" and "Mennonite" mentioned. To put it simply, both are religious orders with common roots and similar beliefs. But telling the difference, especially as an outsider, can be difficult. This article will teach you how to figure this out.
Know the history.The Amish and Mennonites both came from a common root, the Anabaptists, a Protestant religious group that first appeared in the 1500s. The Amish split off from the Mennonites in the late 1600s because they believed that the other Anabaptists were not following Anabaptist beliefs closely enough. The basic ideas of Anabaptism are:
- Religion is a choice for adults to make (as opposed to the custom of infant baptism in Catholicism)
- Devotion to God
- Shunning secularism (ex: pop culture, non-religious media).
Know the backgrounds.Originally there were no Mennonites or Amish; there were only Anabaptists. However, in sixteenth-century Holland, a man named Menno Simons joined the Anabaptists and became prominent among them. About a century after Simons, a Swiss Anabaptist named Jacob Ammon began to preach that the Anabaptists were not following their founding principles closely enough. Thus followers of his ideas became known as Amish and separated from the Anabaptists. The remaining Anabaptists became known as Mennonites after Menno Simons.
Look at their clothes and hair.The Amish dress plainly in solid colors. Men wear black pants and shirts of a number of colors, along with straw hats, while women wear dresses and aprons with bonnets. Men typically have beards, and often have a bowl haircut, while women usually wear their hair in a bun. Mennonites, however, have mainstream clothes and hairstyles, and are often indistinguishable from anyone else.
Examine their lifestyle.The Amish separate themselves from modern society. They don't drive cars or have electricity in their homes. They usually don't go on to higher education; typically they hold traditional jobs, such as farming or woodworking. They hold religious meetings in their homes, don't pose for photos, and often live in small farming communities. Mennonites are typically more integrated with modern society.
Know about exceptions.While the Amish technically avoid modern technology, they often have telephones at the edge of their properties and other modern conveniences close at hand. Some, the New Order Amish, are near-fully integrated with mainstream society. And then there are the Old Order Mennonites, who observe their religion largely as the Amish do. If all of this seems confusing to you, don't be embarrassed.
Ask.If all else fails, just ask. Be polite and respectful, and the person in question will likely be glad to tell you.
QuestionMay I write to an Amish person, and will they answer my letter?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen writing a letter to an Amish person, the letter should be addressed to the leader of that community, especially If they are old school Amish. Whether you receive an answer or not depends on the leader and the context of the question. They are very private people.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the word for the hairpiece used to cover an Amish woman's hair?Community AnswerThe hairpiece used to cover an Amish woman's hair is called a "bonnet." White bonnets are worn by women who are married, while black bonnets are worn by women who are unmarried.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does "Amish bonnet" mean?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThese are large headgear worn by Amish women. Married women wear white, while black bonnets are for the unmarried.Thanks!
QuestionCan an Amish person date or marry someone who is not Amish? If not, is there a punishment for doing so?Michael SchlembackCommunity AnswerThey can, but, it all depends on the parents. In Amish culture, the parents must approve of the person their child will be marrying. In this situation, the parents most likely will not approve.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the white cloth women pin to their hair?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA bonnet. White bonnets are for the married, while black are for the unmarried. Unmarried women are not common in the Amish community (Old Order).Thanks!
Why do amish men often have bowl haircuts and a beard with no mustache?
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