What is with the Amish Beard?
The Amish are a group of traditionalist Protestant Christians with a distinct appearanec. Also known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, the Amish and their way of life are of fascination to many outsiders, who the Amish refer to as the English. The Amish have become known in popular culture for their simple lifestyle, plain clothing, and of course, the Amish beard! No, their beards are not a result of a cultural ban on electric beard trimmers – though the Amish have historically been reluctant to adopt many of the conveniences of modern technology as a result of their religious beliefs. Rather, due to its prevalence in the bible, the long beard has become the mark of a married adult Amish man and holds such importance in their culture that “beard cutting” attacks are considered hate crimes.
The strong symbolism of the beard in Amish culture is directly linked to the tradition that an Amish man, once married, cannot shave or trim his beard. Thus the birth of some of the most impressive and recognizable beards in modern day! On the other hand, unmarried Amish men cannot join in the beard glory. They are not simply banned from growing a beard, they must be completely clean-shaven at all times.
Remarkably, the notable Amish beard lacks an accompanying mustache. While the Amish beard is a symbol of devout manhood in the community, the mustache instead carries symbolic, but nevertheless important, notoriety. Elaborate mustaches were once common among military men, and the Amish have traditionally been a peaceful group. In fact, as present-day Anabaptists, members of the Amish collectively practice nonresistance and pacifism. In keeping with that tradition, they will not perform any type of military service nor will they associate with even the most archaic symbols, like the mustache. The association of the mustache to the military was so strong that mustaches were forbidden in Amish culture. They take their pacifism seriously! To make matters worse, the Amish were historically persecuted by military groups in Europe, only leading to a stronger disdain for the mustache.
For more information on the Amish and Amish beards, click here. Though the Amish cannot own and operate a website themselves, their English friends can!