Get ready to wow your coworkers during your next water cooler chat, the YouTube Channel “Today I Found Out” has dropped some pretty interesting knowledge about Amish facial hair in their latest video. Did you notice how Amish men only grow their beards but they make a point of shaving their mustache? The reason dates back to a pretty recent event in modern history: the First World War.
According to the educational video, wearing elaborate mustaches was a common practice in the military (look at some pictures of War World One soldiers and you’ll see exactly what they mean). Being a pacifist group, the Amish decided that they didn’t want to associate themselves with the army by forbidding their members from growing mustaches. This tradition is common among the Old Order of Amish men, whose population is of around 200,000 people in North America alone.
The video goes on to explain that while mustaches are not allowed, beards are a requirement for all Amish men. This is because it’s associated with the Bible, and it’s also a coming-of-age maker among Amish men. Only Amish men who get married are allowed to stop shaving and let their beards grow out to the longest they can be.
The Amish are an interesting group that exists outside of mainstream society. They live their life by a set of rules known as Ordnung, which give them strict guidelines on how to live their lives privately and publicly. The rules aren’t standardized across North America, and they tend to vary as a result because the Ordnung isn’t a written text. The Amish tradition is passed down verbally from generation to generation.
The video includes a few more interesting facts about the Amish. Did you know they only speak English when outsiders are present? Most Old Order Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of German. The children learn the dialect from a very young age, and they even receive their education and sermons in the German language.
Their courtship routine is also very interesting. A boy typically begins courting a girl he likes at church, and then invites her for a ride on his buggy after church. They continue to court one another for a few weeks, all in secret, until they’re ready to announce their marriage. The wedding takes place at the house of the bride and it lasts four hours, then a reception afterwards where the community gets together to celebrate the union.
A more commonly known fact, popularized by the TLC show Breaking Amish, is that the Amish give their youth a chance to leave the community by giving them a few months to experience the “English life”. It usually takes place when the person is 16, and they’re encouraged to do all their drinking and partying before deciding if they would like to be a permanent member of the community or live ostracized from it forever.