The Amish are members of religious community that fled from the Mennonites. These were a group of Protestants in Europe in 1960’s. People considered the Amish to have successful lifestyles. Simplicity of their lives and the way they treat their families makes them a fascinating community. The Amish way of living is different from that of other people, which sets them aside from other cultures. They live a comprehensible way of life. They value their families and culture. Amish culture makes these people particularly interesting to study. Everything about the Amish is simple, from their mode of transportation to their dressing code. The Amish do not accept technology in their lives. Most Amish families do not posses TV-sets, computers, VCRs, or automobiles. While the rest of the world gets more concerned about fashion, the Amish just dress simply.
The primary mode of subsistence in the Amish culture is farming. They are emerging agriculturists who have developed reliable methods of cultivating and producing crops. Some of them venture into animal farming. The Amish are able to manage their farms for farming. Keeping in mind how flat their land is and the benefits of farming, the latter is the main goal of the Amish family. Farming is vital to the Amish. What is more, it determines a true Amish. The Amish work together in their fields, where they bond together. This brings them closer during the harvest time.
The Amish culture takes farming seriously. The Amish have always been people of the land. Starting from the childhood, people are educated and trained on farming. Farming techniques have been passed from one generation to another by the Amish. When a young Amish couple gets married, they receive a piece of land from their parents. This is done to make them have a start in life and help them earn a living. The Amish do not use modern technology in farming. They use old methods that they are accustomed to. They use the old techniques to farm and harvest. The yields are always the same, and harvests are properly stored. The Amish usually take care about their fields in an accurate manner. The only time the Amish do not attend their farms is during weddings, burials, and other significant religious occasions. The Amish store their food in barns. They engage in other activities, which help them earn money, hence providing them with income considered as religious. They also do not sell their food if they have any other source of income. Although the whole family helps in harvesting, house wives do the storing of surplus of food.
The family unit is central to farming. Family business in the community was passed on from the father to the oldest son, when the father was ready to retire. Farming was a positive contributor to the development of economy of the Amish. By deciding not use TV-sets, computers, automobiles, and electricity from the public, the Amish protected their way of living a long time ago. They decided to stick close to their agrarian roots. This allowed them to minimize their expenses. Money, which would have been spent to purchase and maintain these items were instead used for something better.
They sold farming materials and products. The dried farm products were sold to the rest of the country. By doing this, the Amish still remained very conscious. They always had enough food stored in barns for them to eat during the winter season. The farmer’s wife canned and froze a lot of fruits and vegetables, which were used by the family all along winter holidays. This allowed them to reduce the cost of buying other food in case of food shortages. Farmers would dry some of their food and take it to the markets. These markets were run by some of the Amish, who did not have land to farm and, instead, took care of their livestock. They were still a part of the community since they were the ones selling dried farm products. The Amish also sold their cows and livestock. This helped use small funds they got for selling farm produce.
The Amish simple way of life and the decision not to use modern technology in farming attracted attention of the world. Some people decided to study them. The Amish became a source of tourist attraction. Having tourists was a significant economic boost to the Amish community. They sold most of their products to them. Some preferred to purchase land. The Amish took advantage of this increased demand for land and doubled its price. However, tourism had some negative impact on the Amish. Although the Amish did not want to embrace modern technology, the automobiles that they used caused pollution in the environment.
The Amish always observed their eating habits well. Their diet consists of eating foods, which are home grown and not the processed food. It made them strong health-wise. They did not have to spend on medical facilities, and hence could use that money on other relevant needs. This helped stabilize the economy. After Europeans persecuted the Amish, they became farmers. As urbanization was devouring prime lands, prices in these areas have soared. Expensive lands in the community have caused crisis. The community was coping with the land crisis in several ways. They divided their farms into smaller units, which they used for intensive cropping and large livestock farms. Moreover, some families moved to other states, where farms could be purchased at lower prices. Land crisis made some Amish people stop their farming activities and move to urban areas. This led to economic decline of the Amish.
Farming increased the bond among members of the Amish community. This is because when working in the farm, they always did it together. They harvested together. Working together allowed them to find new and better ways to increase farm produce. They organized public auction for land equipment in February and March. It was during the preparation of spring time farming. Besides being an opportunity to get new equipment, it was a splendid chance to socialize. It attracted a large crowd. There they would come together for farm talks and have fun. Working in these farms was taken seriously by the Amish. The only day they would miss their farm chores was during weddings and funerals. This shows that no matter how they respected their farms, they valued their community members more. If somebody suffered from a disease, they would combine efforts to ensure that he or she gets well. An example is a woman, who had kidney failure. Since they did not believe in the modern world, but believed in helping others, her sister gave one of her kidneys for her. The rest of the community combined efforts to raise funds required for the kidney transplant. The Amish believe in mutual aid. Mutual aid is practiced in the community, which distinguishes the Amish from others. Mutual aid is the aid where a person faces disaster and requires exceptional help. Mutual aid is beyond barn rising. Harvesting, marriage, quilting, and funerals require unity. These needs are caused by drought, disease, injury, bankruptcy, and medical urgency.
Social lives of the Amish seem to have many distinctive features. Leisure, work, education, worship, and play revolve around the immediate neighborhood. In some areas, Amish children are born in hospitals, while others are born at home and local health centers. Weddings and funerals are held at home. The Amish always prefer their activities to be around their homes: from home-canned foods to homemade haircuts. Social relationships are home based and multi bonded. Most of people always had frequently worked, socialized, and worship together. The Amish also value leisure time. After a long day of tilling in their farms, leisure cannot be ignored. Idleness is always termed as devil’s workshop. The rise of cottage industries and the availability of cash is the reason why more recreational activities have been discovered. Recreation times involves a set of events, which focus more on the nature rather than on commercial taboos.
The Amish usually intermarry their children. They are not allowed to mix with the outer world. A young Amish man is allowed to choose a young girl within the community. They are later provided with a farm to start earning a living. Their traditions make young couples bound to stay together and never divorce. This helps people live together in harmony.
The Amish communities are unbelievably healthy. They rarely get sick. Farming has been a significant factor in this. The Amish took proper care of themselves. They strictly observed their eating habits. The Amish who live and work with animals have the lowest rate of allergy in the westernized world. This is termed as the farm effect. The reason behind their low allergic rate is the environmental factor and not their genes. It is believed that since they live in the world without technology, but spend most of their time in farms, their bodies have developed antigens. These antigens help their bodies fight against allergies. The Amish are acutely conscious when it comes to food and nutrition. Most of them do not have access to junk and fast food. They stick to the food that they grow in their farms (natural and organic food) that leads to a balanced diet. They eat foods that are fairly high in fats from meats and eggs, but their obesity level is low.
The Amish do not subscribe to commercial health insurance covers. They organize church aid plans for families with exceptional medical cost. These are supported by the funds they are getting from sales of their farm produce. The Amish are unlikely to seek medical attention for minor aches and illness and they are more fond of using natural remedies and drinking herbal tea. They do not believe in high-tech medical facilities unless when treating serious illnesses, which require surgery.
Amish communities experience many disorders in their population. This is because of environmental factors of the region. Main disorders are genetic disorders and metabolic disorders. Genetic disorders include dwarfism. Metabolic disorder is caused by unusual distribution of blood. Some of these disorders are unique. They are serious and are able to increase mortality rate among the Amish children. Although Amish are at an increased rate of living with genetic disorders, it is proved that their way of living may help them lead a better life. Bodies of Amish people can fight different types of cancer due to their lifestyle. This is because there is extremely low alcohol consumption and smoking is not allowed. They also have limited number of sexual partners. Skin cancer is also at a lower rate in the Amish community. This is despite the fact that most of the people are working outdoors, where they are affected by sunlight and UV lights. Genetic disorders are prevented by a spouse choosing a spouse from a different community. This is because a common bloodline may be found in one community, but will be absent in another. Amish communities do not use any form of birth control. They have large families. They are strictly against abortion. Artificial insemination, eugenics, genetic, and stem cell research are not accepted by the Amish way of life.