Most discussion around Amish communities tends to revolve around the many traditions and customs that members follow. Unfortunately, most of this discussion doesn’t address the meaning behind these traditions.
It’s a real shame too because learning about the meanings behind their traditions is incredibly fascinating.
There are many interesting things to discuss when it comes to Amish customs. These include making their own wicker laundry baskets and rattan storage baskets for shelves instead of buying them and married Amish men having to wear beards.
The Amish are almost as famous for their appearance as they are for their avoidance of technology and the rest of North American society, but not many people care to understand why they choose to look the way they do.
In fact, Amish culture has a lot of rules relating to what is acceptable in terms of hair. One of the best examples of this is whether or not Amish curls are allowed within the community.
Can the Amish Grow Curls?
In Amish culture, rules for hair are contained in the Ordnung. The Ordnung is a set of rules and standards for Amish people.
While the specific rules of the Ordnung may differ slightly between each community, the rules regarding hair share a few common beliefs.
With that in mind, rules regarding hair are very well-defined. These rules differ for men and women and include length, style, and color restrictions. When it comes to whether or not Amish men and women can grow curly hair, it depends on whether a person’s hair grows curly naturally. Amish people aren’t allowed to modify or style their hair beyond functional changes to help in their daily tasks.
This is far from the only interesting tradition surrounding Amish haircut rules. We’ve prepared a list of other unique and fascinating rules relating to hair for men and women.
Women's Hair Rules
In Amish society, a woman’s role is often that of the wife, caregiver, and homemaker. As such, women must keep their hair simple and neat to avoid appearing flashy or drawing too much attention.
Women are also required to keep their hair out of sight to avoid distracting the men of the community. This is typically done by tying hair into a simple bun or single braid.
Amish women also can’t use hair products such as shampoo, but they still manage to keep their hair healthy and hygienic. Most commonly, Amish women use oil to moisturize their scalps and braid their hair before going to sleep to avoid knots and tangles.
People often ask: “Why don’t Amish women cut their hair?”. Well, Christian scripture is often used as the justification when determining the rules set out in the Ordnung. That’s the case with the rule that Amish women aren’t allowed to cut their hair. 1 Corinthians 11 includes the passage:
“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man has long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering”.
This passage has been taken to mean that women shouldn’t alter their natural hair, which includes cutting it. We’ve used this example to highlight why Amish communities practice customs that people might see as strange. Tradition is a fundamental part of Amish culture, and there’s often a religious justification behind a certain rule.
Men's Hair Rules
The differences between hair rules for men and women stem from their different roles in the community. For example, Amish men are allowed to trim their hair to a short length because it allows them to tackle their more physical tasks with less hindrance. The idea is that one’s hair should show their devotion to God.
There are many Amish beard rules for Amish men to follow. Married Amish men are required to wear beards since tradition dictates a beard is a symbol of devotion and faithfulness. However, the length and shape of Amish facial hair vary based on the rules set out in the community’s Ordnung. And why don’t Amish men have mustaches? They have an old association with the military, and the Amish are staunch pacifists.
The consequences of not following Amish hair rules can prove quite severe for members of the community. These consequences range from verbal warnings all the way to total ex-communication from the community under more extreme circumstances.
It’s important to apply context so people outside Amish communities don’t make assumptions about why people follow such strict guidelines. We hope that you’ve gained a new perspective on the many rules surrounding Amish curls and other hair traditions.
If you learned something new about Amish customs, be sure to share that knowledge around to better inform people!
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