Amish Factory

A Guide To Amish Beliefs

The Amish people, better known as the Amish Mennonite people, are a group of people which descended from the Swiss. In 1693, Jakob Ammann separated from his church, the church of the Alsatian Anabaptists, and those that followed him became known as the Amish. The group immigrated to Pennsylvania, where they still live in the surrounding areas. There are more than 225,000 Amish in the United States today and they are seen as a calm, passive, hard-working people who live in their own world.

Way of Life

The Amish believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. As such, they are guided by their faith. They believe that living a life of discipline and service is what will bring them to God. They deliberately forgo modern amenities such as automobiles, electricity, and even telephones. The Amish are known to follow their own interpretation of the teachings of the bible and work to retain solidarity in their community.

Dress Code

The Amish shun bright colors. They also avoid wearing any kind of decorative items, including jewelry and pins. Children often go barefoot in warm weather. Amish men normally do not cut their facial hair and wear beards but not mustaches, as they believe mustaches are a sign of militarism. Women wear long dresses and aprons while men wear plain pants and shirts. Dark colors generally form the basis of the Amish wardrobe for adults while young girls often wear pastel dresses.


Amish children only attend school up until eighth grade. Most children attend schools that are operated by the Amish community. If there is a conflict about age, a child is able to leave school. In this system, a child is simply put through eighth grade again and again until he or she is old enough to graduate. Very few Amish children ever attend college but it does not mean that they do not receive an adequate education. When given standardized tests, Amish children perform on par with other children their age. When formal education ends, Amish boys will begin an apprenticeship to learn their trade and girls will learn the skills necessary to maintain the home.


Work is an integral part of life in Amish country. They believe that working actually nourishes one’s soul. Being considered a poor worker is a very bad thing in the community. Most Amish do work that involves intense labor like farming or blacksmithing. While many Amish people are skilled farmers, it is a common misconception that all Amish people are farmers. Many Amish men work in local factories and young women will often work in restaurants. Work is also a time for the Amish to socialize with each other, as is the case when barn raisings happen.

Courtship and Marriage

Amish teenagers go through a period of rumspringa, the period of adolescence that begins the time of serious courtship. During this time, the strict church rules are relaxed and boys and girls are allowed to socialize with each other. Once this period is over, the teenager is baptized into the church. It’s from the church that they will find someone to marry, as marriages between people of differing churches are usually not allowed. Amish weddings begin at 9am and start with hymns which are followed by a sermon. The bride and groom do not wear special wedding clothes. The wedding day concludes with a big celebration with up to 500 guests. Marriage is considered for life in the Amish community and divorce is virtually unheard of.


The Amish believe that good health is a gift from God but they do actually use modern medicine. If someone is very ill, they will seek outside help if it’s needed. They do not carry health insurance. They also band together to help pay off medical bills.

Taxes and Insurance

As the Amish reject Social Security benefits, the government excused them from having to pay taxes on social security and insurance benefits. They also have a religious objection to insurance as a whole, which helped the government decide this. Even self-employed Amish people do not receive any kind of government benefits. Amish people who decide to work for non-Amish employers are taxed. They do not pay into worker’s compensation but they do pay all other taxes. The Amish community is known to band together to assist each other and this makes insurance and social security benefits unnecessary.


The Amish do not use cars. Instead, they travel with a horse and buggy. The stricter communities have the plainer buggies. Strict community buggies are extremely plain and wooden, stopped by using a manual lever to break. Communities that are slightly more modern will have buggies that are less conservative. For instance, some buggies will have sliding doors in place of rollup side curtains. The front part of these buggies may even have Plexiglas windshields and lights. Some of them even have hydraulic brakes.

  • Old Order Amish – an article explaining the origins of the Old Order Amish
  • The Amish of PA – great information on the Amish way of life including specific information on the Amish of Pennsylvania
  • Amish Resources – a list of resources with further information on the Amish culture and way of life
  • Amish Studies – information on the Amish including cultural practices and statistics
  • Working With Amish – a fact sheet with information on working with the Amish
  • Amish Buggy Safety – some great safety tips for regarding Amish buggies
  • Amish Beliefs – information on the history, beliefs, and practices of the Amish people