What's the Difference Between Amish and Mennonite? A Complete History

What’s the Difference Between Amish and Mennonite? A Complete History

Our Amish friends have been around for a long time, and yet, many people don’t know much about them. For instance, did you know that Amish people pay taxes?

If you haven’t learned much about them, you might be tempted to lump them in with other Plain Folk such as Mennonites- but you would be wrong to.

What’s the difference between Amish and Mennonite, you might ask? We’ll tell you!

This article will go into the differences between Amish and Mennonite. It will also describe similar religions to these two. Finally, we’ll provide information on Amish that you might not have known otherwise.

Are you ready to learn everything about the Amish way of life that you’ve only ever wondered about? If so, then keep reading!

buggy in amish country

What Are the Amish?

The Amish people are a religious group of people that have been around since the 17th century. They are a part of the Anabaptist movement.

The majority of Amish people moved to America in the 18th century. They settled mostly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Today, Amish communities have spread throughout half of the United States- and some of Canada, too!

Amish people believe in interpreting the Bible literally. They place a strong emphasis on family, community, and the importance of being humble. As a result, Amish people try to live separately from the modern world.

This isn’t to say they are unfriendly- Amish people welcome visitors! Many of them are willing to talk about their beliefs and how they feel about their life.

What it does mean is that Amish people reject much of the modern world. They avoid technology such as cell phones and cars and aren’t allowed to travel by plane.

The rules between one Amish settlement and the next vary. Some are more accepting of modern technology, and others won’t even use technology in their homes.

What Are Mennonites?

Mennonites are an Anabaptist religion that formed in the 16th century- the year 1525, to be exact. They lived in Switzerland before persecution in the 18th century drove them in many different directions. Today, Mennonites can mainly be found in the United States.

Mennonites believe in the values of hard work, piety, mutual helpfulness, and the ability to be frugal. As a result, they are a very disciplined religion that has withdrawn from much of society.

Mennonites are a peaceful people who are against war or coercive tactics. They believe in the New Testament and feel that a person’s baptism and public confession of faith are very important steps in their lives.

Today, people of all kinds of cultures can be found in the Mennonite church. The Mennonite’s love of community generally means love of the people in their specific congregation.

Mennonites today could look like anyone you meet on the street. Whether they use modern technology or not depends upon the rules of their congregation.

What’s the Difference Between Amish and Mennonite?

Although Amish people and the Mennonites have similar origins, they are not the same. The Amish split off from Mennonites in the late 1600s in reaction to what they saw as following worldly trends. Today, the Amish and the Mennonites share values of non-resistance and adult baptism.

In today’s world, the only Mennonites that bear close resemblance to the Amish are Old Order Mennonites. These people dress in plain clothes and also use the horse and buggy method of transportation. Even Old Order Mennonites are very different from the Amish, though.

Old Order Mennonites allow technology in the home, as well as the use of cell phones. In addition, Old Order Mennonites worship in meetinghouses. Amish people tend to avoid electricity, and almost every sect chooses to worship in the home instead of a meetinghouse.

Modern Mennonites are even more different. These people dress like the average American, use the internet and modern technology, and accept the use of cars. Many Modern Mennonites go on to receive a college education and professional jobs.

Other Similar Religions

The Hutterian Brethren, or Hutterites, are the final religious group bearing any similarity to the Amish or Mennonites. They share a similar origin with Amish and Mennonite people due to the fact that they are an Anabaptist church.

Hutterites mainly live scattered across Northwestern America, where Amish and Mennonite people tend to live in the Midwest or out East. Like the Amish, Hutterites have their own specific settlements.

Hutterites believe in dressing plainly and living apart from the world. They also place a strong importance on community. Hutterites work, worship, and take meals as a communal group.

Hutterites also believe that material goods are meant to be communal. No assets are meant to be used for personal gain.

However, Hutterite people do not avoid using technology. They use electricity in their homes to get their work done. They also use cars and tractors to help them work on their farms.

Where Do Amish People Live?

Amish people live in their own settlements, set apart from the world. The biggest and best-known settlements are those in Pennsylvania and Ohio. There are also large settlements in Indiana.

Those three states make up nearly two-thirds of the Amish population. However, Amish people can be found in nearly half of the states. There are even settlements as far North as Canada!

Amish people may leave their settlements on occasion to purchase groceries or maybe use the laundromat. However, many people have everything they need to live in the settlement.

Amish teenagers undergo a two-year period known as Rumspringa, where they are allowed to act as part of the modern world and everything that entails. After these two years, the teenagers choose whether they will commit to the Amish church and its way of life, or whether they will leave the Amish church and make their own way.

What Is Considered Amish Food?

Although Amish people aim to be very plain and humble, Amish food is some of the most undoubtedly tasty stuff you’ve ever heard of! In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve had some of the food that Amish people traditionally make before.

Amish people make their dishes with simple ingredients sourced at home. Their food is designed to keep you filled and give you the energy you’ll need for hard manual labor.

For example, one common Amish food is chicken pot pie! Instead of the pastry crust you’re used to, Amish people cook their pot pie with flat noodles. The result is a tender, comforting dish between a stew and a casserole.

Another common dish you’ve probably had is macaroni salad! Amish people often add bell peppers to theirs for a little extra flavor.

Finally, a popular Amish dessert is whoopie pie. This dessert is made of two thin chocolate cakes with a layer of cream in the middle. It’s sort of like an incredibly sweet Oreo.

Amish horse-drawn buggy - a top Amish country attraction

What Is a Day in an Amish Person’s Life Like?

If you take a tour through Amish Country, you may get a chance to speak with an Amish person and hear what their life is like for yourself. They’ll be able to tell you more than a brief overview.

That being said, Amish people wake up somewhere around four AM to start their day. They eat breakfast together before going their separate ways to begin chores and work.

The chores around the farm are completed first, followed by household chores such as laundry. Lunch is typically eaten between 11 AM and one PM.

Everyone helps out where they can. If other families need help, then they come home and complete evening chores. They eat supper together somewhere around seven PM and go to bed around roughly eight PM.

The chores that need doing vary on a day-to-day basis, but there’s always plenty of work to be done.

Horse-drawn Amish buggy - attraction in Ohio Amish country

Amish Living vs Secular Living

Apart from everything you’ve already read in this article, there are other small things you may not have realized Amish people do differently from us.

One such difference is that Amish people finish their education after eighth grade, around when they’re thirteen or fourteen. At fourteen, they get to participate in the modern world for two years. By the time they’re sixteen, they might take over teaching the people who were their peers a couple of years beforehand!

Another difference is that most Amish sects don’t allow music or the use of musical instruments. Any music you hear in an Amish community is usually a hymn sung a capella. These hymns are usually only heard during family worship services.

Finally, Amish people are often healthier than most Americans! This is partially due to all the manual labor they have- Amish people work much harder than we do.

Can I Take an Amish Vacation?

If you’ve ever wanted to take a vacation to Amish Country, you’re in luck! Ohio’s Amish Country has plenty of gorgeous places for you to visit. Once you’re there, there are a wide variety of activities that you could do!

For example, if you’re a fan of nature, there are many hikes you could go on through Amish Country. Ohio is beautiful any time of year, so you’ll love the sights on the way!

If you’d like a chance to speak with Amish people, you can choose one of the more direct tours. These tours will take you through town to see the horse and buggy rides, pet animals, and help sew a quilt!

In addition, there are plenty of shops that you can visit in Ohio’s Amish Country. These shops sell all kinds of goods made by the Amish people. How would you like to own homemade soap to remember your trip?

Amish horses and carriages - top 10 things to do in Amish Country

What Are Amish Cottages Like?

Contrary to popular belief, many Amish homes are built like most Average American homes are! This means all the same builds and materials. They look exactly the same on the outside.

On the inside, though, they are quite different. This is due to the fact that most Amish sects avoid using electricity. Inside their home, you won’t find any lights or modern appliances.

They will likely have a washing tub and rack instead of a washing machine. You might see clotheslines outside to hang your clothes out to dry on.

In the kitchen, there will be a wood stove instead of today’s ceramic cooktops.

Whether they have running water or not varies depending on the settlement. You might end up visiting an Old Amish community that still relies on hauling water to the house or using outhouses.

Best Amish Settlements to Visit

The best Amish settlement to visit is, without a doubt, Ohio’s Amish country! There are many things to do, as well as many different places you could stay.

Within Amish country, you could stay in an Amish house. There are also treehouses in Amish Country that you could choose to sleep in. Or, if you prefer modern amenities, there are a handful of hotels for you to choose from!

When it comes to attractions, there’s no end to the things you can do within Amish country. We’ve already discussed hitting the shops, hiking, and sewing quilts. That doesn’t begin to cover everything.

You could visit any of the small mom-and-pop restaurants within Amish country. See where the locals eat and try the things they do.

If you’re looking for fun, there’s also a regular comedy show you could attend! The Amish Country Theater has been in operation since 2012. If comedy isn’t your thing, there is also a minigolf course.

Pine Cove Inn cabin with fireplace and soaking tub

Book an Amish Vacation Today

Now that we’ve answered the question “What’s the difference between Amish and Mennonite” are you ready to learn more about the Amish? Do you want to take a vacation to see how they live?

If your answer is “yes”, the next step is clear- you need to start booking your Amish vacation today! There’s nowhere better to book from than us here at Amish Country Lodging.

Don’t put it off- come experience your Amish vacation as soon as possible. You won’t regret it once you realize how peaceful giving it a try makes you feel!