Friday, February 25, 2011

10 Myths About the Amish from Holmes County Ohio

Every year people visit Holmes County, Ohio where the largest Amish Community in the World lives.  Many of them have misconceptions about how the Amish live.  The following are 10 myths that the owners of Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast get asked about by their guests:

  1. Amish marriages are arranged.  False.  Amish young adults date just like the rest of the world does (but they may not go to the same kind of places)
  2. Amish don't drink alcohol.  False.  Some Amish do drink alcohol.  In fact the grape arbors on their property are not just for making jelly but wine.  You probably won't find them in a bar chugging a beer, but some Amish do drink.
  3. Amish don't pay taxes.  False.  The Amish are NOT exempt from paying income tax, personal property tax, or other taxes that the rest of us pay.
  4. Amish cannot have anything to do with electricity.  False.  The Amish do not have electricity in their homes, however if they have a job in the secular world that has electricity they can use the electricity.  Not having electricity is part of what separates them from the rest of the world.
  5. Amish won't have anything to do with cars.  False.  The Amish won't own a car or even drive a car. The Amish may hire a driver to take them to the hospital or doctor or to work.  Some Amish will hire a driver to take them to a family wedding/funeral in another state.  Not owning cars is another way to separate themselves from the world, which is what the Bible says in Romans.
  6. Amish don't eat potato chips or junk food, they only eat what they grow or raise on the farm. False.  Amish are just people and if you enjoy chips and soda pop then so do the Amish.
  7. Amish have an 8th grade education and are not very smart.  False.  Think about it...Amish schools do not have sports, proms or other extra curricular activities.  Amish homes don't have TV, computers, video games, etc.  Thus, school is for learning and evenings without electricity are often spent reading.  Amish do have newspapers and keep up with current and world events too.
  8. Amish only use outhouses; no indoor toilets or plumbing.  False.  There are still Amish communities that use outhouses but many Amish have indoor plumbing and flushing toilets.
  9. Amish cannot travel away from their community.  False.  They cannot travel by airplane or cruise ship.  That being said they will hire a driver or buy a bus ticket for more than work and doctor appointments.  Some of the Amish in Holmes County, Ohio, travel to Florida in the winter for a vacation.
  10. Amish don't use telephones.  False.  The world is changing and the use of telephones in an Amish community is changing too.  Some Amish have no phones.  Others share a phone that is located in a booth in their church district or community.  Some Amish have cell phones for work but not personal use.
The information shared is based on an innkeeper experience in Holmes County, Ohio, with the Amish in their area.  Not all Amish communities in the USA follow the same practices.  When you visit Amish Country in Ohio you can take a back roads tour that will teach you more about their culture and customs.

Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

1 comment:

Brian Starke said...

Each Amish community sets its own rules. The one near me does not allow the use of rubber tires.