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How Do Amish and Mennonite Women Differ?

Amish and Mennonites may seem very similar from the outside looking in, but there are significant details that help us differentiate the two. 

As such, there are tell-tale signs to help us tell Amish and Mennonite women apart, from their roles in society and the rules they follow to the way they look.

Let’s dive into how the Amish and Mennonites are different from each other.

What this article covers:

Differences Between the Amish and Mennonites

Mennonite groups 

The Mennonites are split into two groups. Those who make use of modern technology while following Mennonite practices, and the old Mennonite groups.

Understanding the types of Amish and Mennonites will help us distinguish between them.

The old Mennonite groups are far smaller than the Amish, but they frequently coexist with them as neighbors. 

This is because both groups avoid using contemporary technology and dress similarly, but different enough to set them apart from one another.

mennonites and amish difference

The old order and old colony Mennonites also share classrooms and agricultural lands with the Amish.

While Mennonites can be found across the globe as far as Ethiopia and India, it’s true that you’ll find fewer Amish outside of America, but there are communities in Canada, Bolivia and Argentina.

Hair and Presentation

Another difference between Amish and Mennonite folk is facial hair and overall hair-growing rules. 

Married Amish men are required to grow facial hair, whereas almost all Mennonite groups don’t follow this practice. 

The old-order Mennonite groups can also grow a beard whenever they please, a vast difference from the Amish. 

amish vs mennonite rules

You can tell if someone is Amish based on their looks, but you may need to ask a few questions to find out if a man is a Mennonite. 

There’s a very small difference between Amish and Mennonite clothing if we’re comparing the Old Order Mennonites to the Amish. 

Both communities favor the simplistic and plain clothes over the more flashy clothing items of the current generation. 

Place of Worship

Another difference is the place of worship. 

A meeting place is designed specifically for praise and worship for the old-order Mennonites, but the Amish typically gather in neighborhood homes for church service.

The Amish have their church service every alternating Sunday, giving them a day to praise and worship, and the next Sunday to brush up on the bible.

Since these services take place in a family’s home, the Amish community can grow closer and know one another.

Mennonites have church service every Sunday, having Sunday school classes for adults and children before the service. 

The Amish have church leaders. These include a bishop, a deacon, and two or three ministers per district. 

The Mennonites on the other hand don’t believe in titles and welcome everyone into their church.

The Differences Between Amish and Mennonite Women

The Jobs

Many jobs are available for women in the Amish community. The jobs are mostly for unmarried women but you will see a few married women stepping in now and then.

amish and mennonites differences

Running a store

The first is running a store or home business. 

Many Amish communities require some form of entrepreneurial business. 

This typically comes in the form of Amish mothers or women opening up a stall outside their homes to sell certain jarred or canned goods. 

Most Amish women take on the hobby of knitting or sewing, creating hankies and clothes for commuting. These, along with baked goods, are a few items that are sold at these stalls.

Quilting

Quilting and any seamstress work are popular in the Amish community amongst women.

what is the difference between a mennonite and amish

Most of the quilts and cloths that are made are simplistic in design and are typically made using old-fashioned, manual sewing machines.

amish compared to mennonite

The Amish are master craftsmen, and they’re famous for their vintage picnic baskets, tall wicker laundry baskets and sewing baskets.

the amish and mennonites

Teaching 

The Amish outside America as well as the ones residing here have a large population of female teachers. 

Teachers in Amish schools tend to be young Amish women, however, married women tend to make a lifetime occupation as a teacher.

The teachers have a board of men that are typically responsible for the school infrastructure and more handy work rather than education. 

Furniture Finishing 

This isn’t to be confused with the painting of infrastructures. 

Many Amish men who own furniture shops prefer women to apply the finish to their furniture as they tend to have better precision and finesse to apply the coat.

These are typically unmarried Amish women as most married women dedicate their lives to being a mother and a wife. 

Waitressing 

The final job that an Amish woman would take on is waitressing. Many Amish communities have a Pennsylvanian-style kitchen or restaurant where you’re served by Amish women. 

The more common Amish dishes include roast chicken with potatoes and gravy, as well as freshly baked bread. 

Amish women do the cooking in their household, but on some days, the family might decide to eat at a local Amish restaurant.

Some of these jobs are also taken on by Mennonite women, however, they can work outside the community. 

whats an amish person

Amish clothing 

Amish women are identified by their prayer covering and plain-colored dresses. 

When an Amish woman goes to church, she wears a black cloak and an apron, all covering a plain dress. 

The unmarried women wear the same outfit, but they wear a white cloak rather than a black one. 

The workplace also has its dress code. An example would be most family farms that have female workers require them to wear a gray apron.

Additionally, there’s a difference between Amish and Mennonite hats. A Kapp is the Amish women’s hat name. The married women wear black Kapps, and the unmarried women wear white ones. 

A head covering may be perceived as encouraging modesty in the Amish community. A woman's hair should be retained for her spouse to see since it represents her beauty.

The various Amish groups use various types of prayer coverings. For instance, the Lancaster prayer cloth has a peculiar shape that almost resembles a heart.

Straighter pleated clothing is more common among Amish communities in the midwest and elsewhere.

In other words, you can identify an Amish woman's origin based on the shape of their head covering.

Haube is the name of the prayer covering worn by Mennonites. Mennonite women wear it whenever they leave the house or when they are praying.

The veil, which can be either black or white, represents a woman's obedience to her husband. These women wear the Haube as a way to respect God and His words, according to the Bible.

Amish Women Rules

We’ve already discussed the mandatory act of covering your head with a prayer covering as an Amish woman, but there are other rules. 
They aren’t allowed to cut their hair and will be shamed or shunned if they go through with it. In most cases, the Amish women tie their hair up in a bun before wearing a bonnet. 
mennonite difference between amish

They also can’t wear makeup or anything to alter their appearance.

Married Amish women are expected to be submissive toward their husbands. This is done in a respectful way and according to the bible.

Finally, Amish women can’t apply for positions of power or leadership in the church. This means they are not permitted to serve as a pastor or a church official.

These rules are stricter than the Mennonite rules and the repercussions for not abiding by the rules are more severe.

Conclusion

The Amish and Mennonite women may wear similar clothes and swear obedience to their husbands, but their practices and occupations are different enough to set them apart. 

Amish and Mennonite women have guaranteed important roles to fill in their communities, and their excellence in these roles are integral to ensuring that both cultures continue to thrive. 

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