When it comes to hair rules, the norms of the Amish can range from community to community and even between the Amish churches.
The Amish community has a strict observance of the hair grooming rules. The Amish women have strict rules about how to style and groom their hair compared to men.
According to the Ordnung, preserved in the Swartzentruber Amish Ordinance Letter, Amish women are forbidden from shaving their heads and are expected to have their hair covered at all times, including when relaxing at home.
It signifies a woman's devotion to God for Amish women to wear their hair long. Therefore, in many Amish communities, women who shave their hair are looked down upon and even ex-communicated.
Instead, ladies should tie their hair back into a bun and cover it with a bonnet. Amish women are always expected to cover their hair with a bonnet.
Amish non-shaving customs.
Additionally, Amish women are prohibited from using hair styling products and accessories since they consider it a sign of vanity or ostentation.
Amish women don't shave their underarms or legs because, according to their interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:5-15, doing so would violate God's law. Amish women follow the teachings of Apostle Paul, who prevents women from shaving their hair except for their faces.
Shaving one's head is considered an insult by the Amish, who believe that the Bible commands men and women to allow their hair to grow long.
The Amish people are known for their nonconformity to modern norms and their upholding biblical values, including humility, modesty, and simplicity. This philosophy is the bedrock of the group's distinctive non-shaving customs.
However, to blend in with non-Amish society, Amish women are permitted to trim their bangs during the rumspringa transition period. The young women in the Amish community only get one chance a year to look like their non-Amish peers for Rumspringa.
Some of the activities and routines practiced during Rumspringa may be unknowingly continued behind their parents' backs by young teenagers.
For instance, they might continue shaving their legs and trimming their head without drawing attention to themselves.
Amish bonnets significance
In the Amish culture, women's marital status and the community they come from are signified by the color of their bonnets.
For example, married women wear white bonnets, and young, unmarried women wear black bonnets. An Amish woman can only show her individuality in hair care by choosing a different shade for her bonnet. This is while keeping within the community's strict adherence to a culture of subdued modesty.
Amish women are permitted to remove their bonnets and replace them with bandanas to protect their head coverings from being soiled and worn out while doing housework. Also, the women are allowed to apply deodorants.
If an Amish woman has thick hair, they are allowed to use a thinning comb. It's worth noting that even within the same Amish community, there may be modest variations in the norms for hair care across the various Amish congregations.
The Kapp worn by Amish women during times of prayer illustrates the belief that one should always be prepared to pray. An Amish bride will typically wear her hair in a bun and tuck it behind a bonnet for the ceremony.
Regardless of the event or circumstance, Amish ladies always have their hair styled the same way. Also, certain Amish women may be subject to fewer constraints when it comes to shaving, and the choice may ultimately lay with the individual.
How is the Amish Beard Groomed?
Amish men keep their beards long, wild, and thick. His beard serves the same purpose as a wedding band for an Amish guy.
Due to their emphasis on modesty, Amish women do not wear jewelry or wedding bands. Nonetheless, the Amish place a higher value on facial hair than the general population does because they have a unique perspective on the institution of matrimony.
A man who grows an Amish beard is usually the head of his household. The Amish almost demand large families; therefore, they deliberately plan for them.
Because of this, Amish couples tend to get married and start attempting to have children at a young age. Young unmarried men shave their beards and leave them to grow once they marry.
The Amish only marry inside their community, and marriage is always between a man and a woman. Because of this, the whole idea of an Amish family — especially of a man's beard — is political.
It's a competition to see who can bring in the most money for the family and get their kids ready for marriage as soon as possible.
An Amish man's beard generally represents his devotion to his wife, his children, and the Amish community. A beard isn't just a fashion accessory.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a style statement. This commitment must last a lifetime simply because that's the norm in Amish communities. It stresses survival, conformity, and tradition above all else. The Amish beard is a symbol of a commitment to meeting those expectations.
Why do Amish Men keep Beards?
Beards have been part of Amish culture for centuries, going back to Jakob Ammann, the religion's founder.
Following his break with the Swiss Brethren (who were essentially Swiss Mennonites), Ammann established his own Anabaptist sect centered on strict self-control and humbling behavior.
This culture's norms included a strict aversion to technology and severe punishments for those who disobeyed the rules, such as the infamous "shunning."
The Amish value pacifism, which is somewhat at odds with other aspects of their culture. After all, Menno Simons, the movement's founder, emphasized the importance of nonviolence in the Amish faith.
Conveniently for Ammann and his followers, they lived during a time when Germany's military power in Western Europe was unrivaled. At the highest levels of the German military, bushy mustaches were considered to be a sign of status and authority.
Because of this, many people began associating mustaches with joining the military, which was strictly forbidden among the peace-loving Amish. Mustaches were outlawed by Ammann and his cult when he decided to impose strict rules on members' appearance.
The culmination of this historical process is the "Amish beard," so named because it consists of facial hair on the side of the face and the chin but not the upper lip. Also, the Amish beard symbolizes peaceful protest.
The Amish disapproved of the clothes of individuals who supported the military since they were (and are, by doctrine) so opposed to violence. Thus, apart from the beard only signifying a wedding ring, it also symbolizes the traditions and beliefs of the Amish.
Why do Amish Men Shave their Mustaches?
The distinctive style of the Amish men's facial hair is one of the most intriguing aspects of their culture to outsiders.
Actually, the practice of growing a beard without a mustache is frequently referred to as the "Amish beard" style. It's puzzling that the Amish would shave their mustaches if they're so set on keeping their beards long.
Mustaches were once a sign of military status and pride, particularly among German officers in the 1700s, but the Amish still shave them.
At about the same time, an Amish group was founded who called themselves and set out to isolate themselves from the rest of society, and that included a desire to avoid all forms of violence.
Because it is now integral to the Amish way of life, the custom lives on in modern times. Beards are a typical male trait, but upper lip hair growth is naturally impossible.
What are the Consequences of not following the Hair Rule?
Violating the hair rule among Amish community members can lead to ex-communication or shunning. Ex-communication is usually done to give the member a chance to repent and confess.
During ex-communication, the member cannot talk or share a table with other members. In case of repeated counts of the same offense, the Amish member gets shunned from the community.
However, if the member returns, they confess, get baptized, and are received back into the community. The Amish community believes in forgiveness; thus, they give the members a chance to confess and repent.
The punishment differs differently in Amish communities and churches, as the hair rules are not the same everywhere. Women are not allowed to shave or keep their hair uncovered at any time.
In conclusion, Amish people adhere to the hair rules as directed by the Ordnung. Women should always cover their heads and never shave their hair.
Amish men are supposed to let their beard grow long after married as it symbolizes longevity and life commitment. Before marriage, young men are supposed to shave.
Only during the Rumspringa are the Amish teenagers allowed to shave to fit in. In addition, Amish men are not allowed to keep a mustache as German military soldiers initially kept it.
Violation of the Amish shaving rules may lead to an ex-communication, warning, or a complete shunning. However, if the member repents, they will confess and be taken back to the community.