The Exclusive, Reclusive Amish

by Sarika Kabra - Date: 2007-04-27 - Word Count: 608 Share This!

The living style of the Amish people has never ceased to draw a sense of awe from the people who are exposed to them. It is difficult to fathom for most of us used to the comforts of the modern world that such a reclusive society could even exist in the first place. A bigger surprise awaits you when you realize this society is flourishing in major parts of America and Canada, both known for their advanced levels of development and human comforts. After all, who would like to do away with the luxuries of modern day life, and that too voluntarily? And the surprising factor is that this shunning of modern methods is not limited to an individual or two, but an entire society of nearly 200,000 people (198,000 as per last estimate in the year 2000).

What then, are the Amish all about?

A reclusive clan of people, the Amish hail from a Swiss-German ancestry, and are said to be descendants of Swiss Anabaptist groups formed in the early 16th century during the radical reformation. The Swiss Anabaptists had their origins with Felix Manz (ca. 1498-1527) and Conrad Grebel (ca.1498-1526). They later adopted the term "Mennonite", the name originating from the then leader of the clan, Menno Simons (1496-1561).

It was only much later that the Amish movement got its present name, derived from that of Jacob Amman (c. 1656 - c. 1730), a Swiss Mennonite leader. Amnan propagated a stricter and more conservative line of thinking to the movement, as he felt that the original traditions were not being followed. This further led to a split in the ranks of the clan, leading to the Amish clan separating from the mainstream Mennonite group.

It was as late as the Eighteenth century that the Amish started migrating to Pennsylvania with an aim of avoiding the large scale poverty and the resulting religious wars. They later spread to other parts of America like Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and even beyond to Canada.

The simple living of the Amish people is something which is a derivative of their reclusive lifestyle. The women wear only plain clothes, and any form of use of bright colors is strictly prohibited. Even the use of buttons is prohibited, and only hooks and eyes may be allowed. Sometimes only straight pins may be used for holding clothing together. The men are equally simply dressed, with plain shirts and dark trousers being the order of the day. Growing of moustache is not allowed as it is associated with the military, and moreover, gives the owner of the moustache a feeling of vanity. The entire aim being to avoid anything which may lead a person into thinking he's special, or better than his other community members.

The simplicity of the Amish people extends to inside their houses as well, and to the furniture they use. Amish furniture is plain and devoid of fancy designs. The reclusiveness of the Amish does not allow them to make use of any modern machinery, and handcrafted Amish furniture is all that is to be found in their homes. Lack of machinery does not mean lack of skills, however, and the end quality of Amish handcrafted furniture is enough to put many of its illustrious machine-made cousins to shame. The love for tradition does not end there, and most of the Amish made furniture is made in traditional oak wood, shunning the modern plywood and wood laminates. Solid, simple yet functional pieces are the hallmark of the Amish furniture which adorns their homes.

Little wonder, then, that anything even remotely related to this exclusive clan of simple people inspires a sense of awe.

Related Tags: handcrafted, simple, history, conservative, amish furniture, exclusive, tradition, functional, fancy design, awe, reclusive, machine-made

The author has bought some exquisite hardwood dining furniture. You can buy beautiful handcrafted Amish Furniture for your home and office in online stores. Visit for some great deals on wholesale Amish furniture.

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