Tuesday 13 November 2007

Intercourse in Pennsylvania

We got our Amish on last weekend. Em has been wanting to see Amish country since we first decided we were going to the US, so we put on our straw hats and drove to Intercourse, PA.

I think the most interesting things I discovered are the seemingly arbitrary distinctions they make about their lifestyle, like:

  • Electricity is not allowed, but giant propane gas tanks, gas powered fridges, lights etc. are OK
  • Sports and modern sports equipment (baseball bats, volleyballs etc.) are OK, but organised sports leagues or clubs are not
  • Clothes are plain, and even buttons are considered too fancy but modern shoes are OK
  • Horses are used for transport and ploughing but tractors are used for jobs like threshing wheat

Of course each house and community is a little different so these are just average cases. I think the strangest thing I didn't know about the Amish is that their religious services are entirely in German, also known as "Pennsylvania Dutch". This is amazing considering a church service is 3-4 hours with 2 sermons, the longer one usually about an hour and a half!

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