The Amish Lifestyle
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|What is Amish?
Not every horse and buggy seen in America’s Amish country may be
driven by an Amish person. A number of groups share a common Anabaptist
heritage with the Amish. Small, distinct sects of Brethren and Old
Order Mennonites also use horse and buggies.
The Amish themselves can be generally categorized into several
groups broadly defined as New Order, Old Order and a few groups more
conservative than the Old Order.
Within these groups, there are numerous differences. The Old Order
has the most members and are probably the most familiar to Englishers.
The Old Order use few modern conveniences, avoiding such things as motor
driven equipment. They do use steel wheeled tractors for stationary
power sources to power thrashing equipment or to pull equipment on the
highway. They do not use tractors to work in the fields except in hot
climates where horses cannot withstand
||the high heat.
Some Old Order have indoor plumbing and running water.
While the New Order retain many of the Old Order traditional
practices, they can be considered the most progressive of the Amish
groups. Some groups may allow telephones, use air-filled tires on
tractors and even allow electricity in the house.
The more conservative groups, such as the Swartzentrubers and
related groups, the Nebraska Amish of Central Pennsylvania, avoid indoor
plumbing, do not use motorized equipment of any kind and wear
The Nebraska Amish do not use suspenders or bonnets and are not
permitted to have screens on their doors and windows.
Family Most Important
Amish people cherish their biological and
church family. Families visit each other frequently. Distant friends and relatives
remain in contact by mail and by letters to The BudgetTM
Because the readers have lots of relatives with whom they wish to
stay in contact, they write to The BudgetTM about their family and
community activities . Of the 20,000 subscribers to The BudgetTM,
18,000 copies are mailed to Amish families.
When the older family members “retire” from farming, they move into
a “Grandpa House” or Doddy house adjacent to the main farmhouse. They
continue to work, performing useful chores around the farm, while
retaining a strong sense of independence.
Amish people will not accept public welfare aid or retirement
income. They do pay income and real estate taxes and are exempt from
social security taxes if they farm or are self-employed.