Posted: 09/08/2023

Interesting Facts About the Amish

Explore facts about the Amish community’s culture and traditions.

Lancaster County is home to the biggest and historically oldest Amish settlements in the country. Discover more about the Amish’s way of life and beliefs. Whether you’re seeking answers to commonly asked questions or planning an upcoming trip to Lancaster, here are some facts you may not know about the Amish. These answers reflect general practices within the Amish settlements, but specific rules and guidelines might be determined by individual churches.

A farmer with horses on a field in Lancaster, PA.

1. What do the Amish eat for dinner?

A typical Amish dinner consists of filling meals encompassing a variety of options including meatloaf and roast beef, pork chops, and ham. Dairy is also an integral part of the Amish diet, with items like milk and cheese being common. Homegrown produce is often a staple and features vegetables such as corn, beets, peas, and more. Many Amish families compliment their meals with cabbage and potatoes, using sauerkraut–a type of pickled cabbage–as a staple in many dishes. Explore classic Amish dinners with places to eat in PA Dutch country.

2. What are Amish not allowed to eat?

The Amish don’t have any eating restrictions or rules. Individuals can eat anywhere, ranging from large food chains to local restaurants. Discover Amish-owned restaurants in Lancaster County and dive into an array of delectable meals.

3. Do the Amish pay taxes?

Amish communities pay income, sales, public school, and property taxes. Paying taxes varies depending on the residing state. Due to religious reasons, the Amish don’t pay Social Security taxes and do not receive Social Security programs or money from unemployment.

4. How do the Amish make money?

Earning renown as skilled entrepreneurs, the Amish generate income from a diverse array of businesses, ranging from carpentry and construction to retail shops and restaurants. While the Amish are most well-known for farming, community members also provide a variety of services including lodgings and furniture-making.

5. Can Amish travel by plane?

Frequently prioritizing a lifestyle that aligns with their traditional values, consisting of humility and community, the Amish display a preference for limited air travel. This inclination is driven by their steadfast commitment honoring the importance of home and close-knit communities. However when necessary, the Amish are generally allowed to board commercial airlines for their journeys.

a horse pulls a buggy up hill through amish farmland in lancaster

6. Do Amish build houses?

The Amish construct a variety of buildings with highly skilled craftsmanship, including houses, churchs, and barns. The community offers a range of businesses in construction, featuring sheds, roofing products, porches, and cabinetry.

7. Can Amish shop at popular retail chains?

Despite a common misconception, the Amish can shop at large retail chains and other stores that aren’t Amish-owned. Visitors in Lancaster, PA may see shopping outlets and stores near Amish houses and settlements. You may even find “buggy-spots” right in the parking lot with priority given to horse and carriage transportation.

8. Do the Amish use batteries?

While the Amish generally aren’t allowed to use electricity in their homes, they are permitted to have batteries and generators. Some uses for batteries include buggies, portable fans, and clocks. There are some Amish communities that also use solar power.

9. Do the Amish take pictures?

In general, Amish individuals prefer to avoid having pictures taken because it clashes with their focus on humility. The Amish believe that pictures promote individuality and vanity, conflicting with community-focused values and traditional beliefs.

10. What are Amish marriage customs?

Wedding ceremonies are filled with sermons, hymns, prayers, and scripture readings with a duration of around three hours. A marriage celebration could have hundreds of guests and relatives with day-long activities.

Amish children attend school through 8th grade leaving their one-room schoolhouse. Photo Credit:

11. Do the Amish go to hospitals and use current medicine?

Amish communities aren’t prohibited from using modern medicine and visiting hospitals.

12. Do the Amish go to banks?

Amish members are permitted to use non-Amish banks and some churches allow the use of debit or credit cards.

13. What is Rumspringa?

Rumspringa is a stage in Amish adolescent years when individuals decide to join the church. It’s a coming-of-age process that involves Amish youths dealing with lighter restrictions on their actions and behavior.

14. What languages do the Amish speak?

Pennsylvania Dutch is the most commonly used language among the Amish groups in Lancaster County. Amish schooling also teaches English as a means to speak with the non-Amish world.

15. Can the Amish vote in elections?

The Amish don’t typically vote in elections, but a small percentage of Amish people participate in voting during presidential elections. The Amish are more focused and involved in their communities and churches, rather than participating in federal elections.

Looking for more information? Explore the breathtaking scenery of the Amish and PA Dutch countryside, or enrich your learning of Amish culture at home with traditional recipes. Planning a visit to Lancaster? Make your way to a variety of Amish attractions and dive into the best Amish tours in the area.

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