Back in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation took Europe by storm. The havoc wreaked saw the split of churches and the emergence of the Amish, led by Jakob Ammann. By the 18th century, a group of Amish had crossed the seas to the United States, where they made their home, and today the Amish are now one of the fastest-growing populations in the world.
Buggies, straw hats, long and plain dresses in shades of blue and black, charming log cabins reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie - this is often the mental image that comes to mind when one thinks of the Amish. Nowadays, many have become accustomed to being within a 10 foot radius of at least three pieces of technology every hour of the day. World news and current events have never been more readily available, accessible by just a touch of a fingertip. Yet there exists a collection of cultures worldwide that steer clear of contemporary society for a range of reasons.
These communities, which also come in various forms around the world, are the descendants of the Swiss Anabaptist movement. The Amish are famed for their simple living, commitment to sanctity, and being a community that seems to be at a standstill in time. What is less known about them is the deep culture, tradition, and faith, making them one of the most unique communities that has ever graced civilization.
Americans have heard of the Amish, but most know little about them. They are often seen as unconventional and strictly religious, but quiet, calm folk who keep to themselves. Those who have heard of them know of their rejection of electricity and most, if not all modern aspects of life. Those who have taken a gander at the dozens of "reality shows" that have sprung up over recent years may have even heard of the famous - but often inaccurately depicted - Rumspringa. But beyond the buggies and prayer bonnets lies an intriguing culture that has remained strictly loyal to its roots.
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