Amish culture is rich, with many unique traditions and customs, but some practices leave non-Amish people stumped. One common question is "why don't Amish women cut their hair"?
Although it seems unusual to non-Amish people, it makes complete sense when you understand where this Amish practice originates from
This article will delve into where these beliefs come from, and how the Amish apply these beliefs to their daily lives.
So let's have a look into some Amish hair rules and why Amish women don’t cut their hair.
What this article covers:
Amish Hair Beliefs
Hair Is Sacred
The Amish are devout Christians, and as such, many of their traditions originate from the Bible.
The Amish perceive hair as a sacred symbol of devotion to God. Because of this, cutting it is considered a shameful dismissal of this precious token.
As you can imagine, Amish women have rather long hair, and more often than not it reaches their waist. To handle their long locks, they tie them up in a neat bun or long plait and tuck them away tidily underneath their head coverings.
Hair Cutting is Forbidden
So why don’t Amish women cut their hair and why is it forbidden? Again, the answer has biblical roots.
In the New Testament, Apostle Paul forbids women from cutting their hair (1 Corinthians 11:5-6). But, are Amish allowed to shave?
The Amish apply this bible interpretation to all hair, meaning women don’t shave their legs or armpits, either. This is because the New Testament (1 Corinthians 11:5-15) considers shaven hair as shameful.
Moreover, according to Amish customs, styling one's hair is a form of vanity. Because they don't tolerate pride or vanity, it's clear to see why they don’t cut their hair.
Amish Men’s Hair
Both men and women indeed follow many hair rules, however, men follow them to a lesser extent than women.
So, why do the Amish grow beards yet women aren’t allowed to cut their hair? Interestingly, it’s because the biblical passage which forbids haircutting only applies to women. As a result, Amish men's hairstyles are noticeably different from women’s.
Firstly, unmarried men are clean-shaven whereas married men grow beards as a sign of adulthood. Amish beard styles differ between communities in terms of their styles and lengths, but all married men have some form of facial hair.
Why can't Amish have mustaches? Amish men don't grow mustaches because they violate two main beliefs. First of all, they’re considered a show of pride and vanity, both of which are against Amish beliefs. Plus, this vanity may be an unwelcome distraction from their duty to serve God.
Secondly, the Amish view mustaches as a style worn by military men. Because the Amish practice nonresistance (pacificism), they don’t want to associate themselves with the military in any way.
Amish neckbeards are popular amongst Amish communities, but only when the beard is trimmed and kept neat.
Amish Hair Rules for Women
There are many rules that Amish women must follow. If they break these rules, they’re at risk of being shunned by their community.
Cutting Hair Goes Against the Ordnung
The Ordnung is a set of agreed-upon rules that govern Amish communities. In addition to biblical reasoning, the Ordnung explicitly states that women are forbidden from cutting their hair. Moreover, they must keep it covered at all times unless they are at home.
But why is this a rule and why don't Amish women cut their hair? Hair is deemed too sensual and too distracting for the men in the communities. Therefore, it’s agreed that women will cover their hair to avoid any potential awkwardness or unpleasantness.
Contrary to popular belief, the Ordnung can be reinterpreted by each Amish community. From time to time, rules are reviewed by the community members and changes may be implemented if agreed upon.
This reveals that women are quite happy with the ways things are, and you might even say they’re less burdened for it.
Hair Must Be Covered
The Amish are often recognized for their plain, traditional dress. What’s more, many people want to know why do Amish women not cut their hair.
Amish women wear long, dark-colored dresses which cover their arms and legs. Because these dresses cover their legs down to the ankles, shaving their legs would be a waste of time, as nobody sees them anyway.
Along the same lines, both married and unmarried women must always wear a head covering (also known as a prayer covering) which covers their hair. Any form of haircutting or styling would also be rendered pointless as it would remain hidden.
Because Amish women don't spend time on their appearance, they have lots of time to invest in their handmade crafts.
No Coloring or Styling
Another explanation is that the Amish value simplicity and don’t like any frills. As such, women aren’t permitted to style their hair in any way. Instead, they maintain their natural beauty without using any products.
This means no hairdryers, curling irons, or hair straighteners. Grey hairs are also allowed to grow whenever they appear as hair dye isn’t permitted.
However, that doesn’t mean Amish women don’t care for their hair. In fact, they use many natural products such as vinegar, lemon juice, and rosemary to make homemade treatments.
So, why don’t Amish women cut their hair? The answer is simple. Because it says not to in the bible and it’s against community rules.
Because the Amish are known for their practical and simple approach to life, it’s natural that this extends to their hairstyles, too.
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