The Amish, also known as Amisch or Amische, are a group of traditionalist Christians, having their origin from the Swiss Anabaptists in 17th century. In 18th century, most of them migrated to North America. The Amish are mostly known for their lifestyle, characterized by the inclination towards the simplicity in living, dressing, and their reluctance to adopt the advantages of modern amenities and technology. They seldom use electricity and modern vehicles. They take their name from Swiss Mennonite leader Jakob Ammann, who formed a different group after withdrawing from the Mennonite church due to disagreements on traditions. The group following Amman went on to be called Amish.
The lifestyle of Amish is in accordance with an unwritten code of conduct, called the Ordnung or the Order, which varies slightly from communities to communities. One of the most renowned features of Amish is the beards worn by men. Known as Amish beard, it is characterized by long untrimmed growth of facial hair not accompanied by moustache. There are two major reasons behind this tradition. A moustache is seen as a symbol of pride and vanity by the Amish. Their lifestyle abstains from both and embraces humility and submissiveness.
The tradition also traces back its origin to the social scenario in the early days of the Amish in Europe. During those days, long moustaches were associated with aristocratic men who often served in the military. In their incipient period, the Mennonites including the Amish were often harassed by the military and other violent groups. Because of this, the Amish, who consider themselves a peaceful sect, decided to forego any signs that would associate themselves to these violent groups. One of the ways to do it was to refrain from growing moustaches. It continued as a tradition and still remains among the Old Order Amish people.
However, as far as the beards are concerned, they are a requirement among the Amish. It stems from the fact that almost all the Biblical males are supposed to have had beards. Also, the presence of beard signifies maturity and wisdom in their view. However, in some communities, the Amish men are allowed to grow beard only after their marriage. The marriage is seen as the attainment of adulthood and the beard indicates a male’s formation as a man. In other communities, men are allowed to grow beard after they have been baptized, as sign of reaching adulthood.
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