Heuvelton, New York: Two different cultures reside
The youngest grandchild (of my mom's family, in which I am the oldest) graduated from high school in June 2014. Most of the time the family just meets in Tupper Lake, where my mom's siblings all grew up, and where she and my father were married. Some of her siblings and elderly father still live there. However, can't bring the graduation to Tupper, so we all went to Heuvelton.
Heuvelton, New York is a small rural village. It is said to have a population of 714 people. Some of them are in the Amish community, some of them are not. My cousin and her parents are not Amish. In fact, my Uncle complains much about how he must have to pick up the wastes of his dog, while the Amish are SUPPOSED to be putting a leather type "diaper" on their horses, but they don't. They constantly have to worry about horse crap.
It was quite a different environment to see. Two very different communities living amongst each other.
As we were leaving, it was quite a beautiful sight to see all the horse drawn carriages with lanterns hanging from their carriages, or if there was another passenger in the carriage, they would be holding the lantern.
I used to think that living in a big city would be ideal. However, I will always be a small town girl at heart. I belong nowhere else.
25 Facts About The Amish
1. Contrary to popular belief, The Amish do not mind having their photos taken by others. However, they do not take or keep photographs of themselves in their homes.
2. Building barns is a form of fun and socialization in communities. Which bring the male population together.
3. The Amish are pacifists who will never serve in the military. The Amish are soft spoken, and are against violence in any form. Because of this, no men are allowed to join the military. If they do join, they are banned from the community.
4. There are more Amish people than you would guess to be living in America, 30,000 Amish people reportedly.
5. They wait until a person is old enough to make the decision to be baptized. Unlike some other Christian branches, they wait until around ages 16-24, before accepting the religion.
6. Their modesty extends to their opinions of others. The Amish are not arrogant people, as they see that as a sin. They do not judge or condemn people of the modern world for their lifestyle choices.
7. The population in Amish communities is steadily growing. Because Amish get married at a young age and have so many children. Their communities see a yearly growth rate of 3.6%.
8. The average Amish couple has between five and seven kids. They do not believe in or use contraceptives, which results in large families. They aim to have as many children as possible.
9. Women are considered second class citizens. Girls are only destined to become housewives to cook, clean, and raise children.
10. Jakob Ammann is credited with starting The Amish Religion. He began the Amish movement when he left Switzerland and other Christians decided to join him.
11. They refuse Genealogical testing because of suspected inbreeding. Living in small communities and the report of inbreeding, the Amish refuse Genealogical testing that would tell them who is related to who as they claim the testing is not of God's will.
12. The Amish came to America from Switzerland in the 18th Century. The Amish escaped persecution in Europe by immigrating to America. They found life more peaceful in their new country and decided to make it home.
13. Mennonites and Amish are distinctly two different communities. Both communities find it insulting to be mistaken from one another. The Mennonites, are not as strict as the Amish. Mennonites may wear brighter colors, drive cars, and even live modernly.
14.Children's Educations end at the 8th grade level. Boys pick a trade to go into, and girls are all pre-destined to be housewives. Because of this, they see no need for an education past the 8th grade level.
15. Their worship services are surprisingly modest. The Amish do not see the need for extravagant churches or services. Instead, they show their faith in their work and how they live.
16. "Meidung" is the act of shunning someone from the community for breaking rules. With so many rules, it's not unheard of for someone to be banned from the community. The only way for someone to be un-bannish is to beg, or to die and be buried back in the community.
17. The Amish are known for their beards, but never have mustaches. Mustaches were once seen as a sign of wealth and military, and the Amish community wanted nothing to do with either.
18. Wedding receptions are very modest, as is the couples wedding night. Guests mainly talk and offer their blessings to the new couple following a wedding ceremony. Then, the bride and groom spend their first official night as husband and wife at the bride's parent's home.
19. They're not allowed to wear bright colors or jewelry. They wear the same plain clothes that tradition has dictated for years.
20. Most Amish communities speak at least three languages. English, German and what is known as Pennsylvania Dutch. They will use English in school and business, but speak German in church and Dutch for common daily activities.
21. Weddings are a simple affair that do not even include rings or flowers. Amish weddings are typically held at the end of fall, and are devoid of anything that they deem too extravagant. Instead of flowers, they commonly use celery, and the bride may not even wear a ring, as it represents vanity.
22. Amish beliefs forbid them from using technology. They go without electricity, phones, and internet due to their belief in "Gelassenheit," which is a Christian word equating to keeping the earth as God created it.
23. New couples are encouraged to "sleep" together prior to marriage. However, both parties are fully clothed and a board is placed between them to prevent contact. The idea is for them to spend the whole night talking instead of doing other things.
24. The Amish have lower Cancer rates in their community. They not only produce their own food--free of pesticides and processing, but they also refrain from drinking and smoking. This healthy lifestyle means lower cancer rates for their communities.
25. Courtships are usually short and marriage comes quickly. Once a couple starts "dating," they will go out only a few times before deciding if they should marry. The church will bless the marriage, and the engagement becomes official once it's announced in their town's newspaper.