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10 Facts About Amish Life That Will Surprise Outsiders

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Few groups in America are as interesting as the Amish.

Many people still see them as a group of people terrified by modern society, but in fact their traditions are hundreds of years old, and rooted in their religious beliefs.

Here are 10 facts about the Amish you probably didn't know as an "English" - that's Amish for "outsider."

1.  Their buggies are pretty modern

Along with their rules about modern technology, the Amish are probably best-known for riding around in horse-drawn buggies. While these vehicles may look old-fashioned, most have modern additions.

Roadkill Crossing

Many states, counties, and towns with large Amish communities pass laws requiring headlights and turn signals on buggies. Some Amish drivers even install solar-powered dome lights inside their carts (more on that later).

2. They don't trim their beards

Beardholic

Young Amish men will keep their faces clean-shaven until they're married, when they'll begin growing a beard. Because of the close association between men and beards in Amish culture, cutting one off is a serious offence. You can even be charged with a religious hate crime for chopping off an Amish man's beard.

3. They're strict about fashion

Amish rules about clothing promote modesty, and make the entire community resemble one another to emphasize equality under God's eyes.

IBTimes

Men sport black suits, with no zippers or pockets, and use suspenders to hold up their pants. They're usually seen in a straw or a felt hat, depending on the season.

Human Events

Amish women wear plain dresses, sometimes with an apron on top. The fabric is always one solid color, and usually made from one material. Amish women also wear a bonnet, and in many communities the color of the bonnet has a meaning: black bonnets for single women, white for married women.

QIAP

But the major difference between your wardrobe and an Amish woman is that most own just four dresses. "One for wash, one for wear, one for dress, and one for spare."

4. Verne Troyer, AKA Mini-Me, was Amish

He's also a good example of the health conditions that are common in Amish communities. Because they're so isolated, the Amish have a very shallow gene pool, and it shows in their children's health.

Zimbio

Despite being born with cartilage-hair hypoplasia, and only growing to 2'8", Troyer says his family “never treated me any different than my other average sized siblings. I used to have to carry wood, feed the cows and pigs and farm animals.”

5. They break the rules as teens

At around age 16, every Amish teen enters a period of their life called "Rumpsringa," where they're encouraged to experiment with the outside world. They break the Amish clothing rules, meet new friends, and party like regular teenagers.

Ranker

But by the time they turn 21, they're forced to make a choice: to be baptized into the Amish religion and confess their sins, or to leave the community behind.

6. They handle pregnancy a little differently

Amish women have to be pretty tough, because they handle pregnancy without our modern conveniences. There's no ultrasounds or other helpful procedures, and most births are done at home, with the help of just a midwife.

TLC

Amish moms are also known for keeping up with chores and farm work during their pregnancy, and tend to have more kids than "English" moms, because the Amish don't use birth control.

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