The Amish

The Amish people are a religious group who came to America from Switzerland and South Germany in the 18th century. They have become very famous by keeping old traditions and refusing to accept new ways of life.

The men wear black hats and have beards, but not moustaches. They all wear  homemade clothes, which are blue, green, purple, brown and black in colour. No bright colours are allowed. For this reason they are known as 'Plain People'. The women do not wear any kind of jewellery.

The Amish people do not use electricity. In 1919 Amish leaders decided not to  connect to electric power lines. They thought that it wouldn't keep their life simple. Now they have no television, radio, or refrigerators. No telephones. No cars. They drive horses and buggies. They use gas and gas lamps light their homes. The Amish are excellent farmers, but they often refuse to use modern farm machinery.

Children go to Amish one-room schools and learn reading, writing, arithmetic and religion. Before and after classes they help their parents to milk cows, gather eggs, feed domestic animals and do gardening. An Amish family usually has between eight and twelve children. Home-produced food is important in supporting large families. Amish culture is unique in American society.