Not All Amish Communities Practice Rumspringa

Not All Amish Communities Practice Rumspringa

By Josh Brown

April 27, 2022

Amish Health, Amish religion, Amish viewpoint, Amish Way of Life, Rumspringa

Have you ever wondered which Amish communities celebrate Rumspringa and which Amish communities don't? Possibly your like the thousands of us other people that have seen videos, documentaries, and internet clips of Amish teens letting loose, to decide if they want to continue living an Amish lifestyle, after Rumspringa. If your like the old Cooner here, and have lived near one of the largest Old Order Amish communities in the southern Untied States, that doesn't practice Rumspringa, then it brings up questions !!! The Crockett Cooner is here again at The Amish Of Ethridge doing a little writing. I've looked into the Amish Communities that Don't celebrate Rumspringa, and I've found some information on why not everyone  in the Amish religion wants to "jump around"...

Barn At Dusk

Amish Barn At Dusk

What Really Is Rumspringa, Where Did The Saying Come From And Why

When it comes to letting your hair down, to have a little fun some Amish communities are no different than us "English" folks. First off in this Blog we need to discover what Rumspringa really is and why many sectors of the Amish faith do or Do NOT  believe in it. Rumspringa the word can be found in Pennsylvania Dutch, German, or the Swiss language meaning basically to jump, run, and hop about or around, depending on what translation and spelling of the word, and in what text it is used. For a better look into the history of the translation of Rumspringa or the different spellings of the word here is a quick link that describes in depth the differences, Rumspringa

To look into why the term Rumspringa is used and practiced by some Amish communities and why the Amish folks use the Pennsylvania Dutch language. We need to look a little at where the Amish religion comes from and how it began. The Amish as you might know have many different sectors such as Old Order Amish, New Order Amish, Beachy Amish Mennonite, Swartzentruber Amish, and Amish Mennonites . Not to mention many sub Amish groups that have been formed that are still active today and many sub Amish groups that have dissolved over time like the, Believers in Christ, The "Plain Communities" as they are known, and found in many different locations in the United States, The Christian Communities of Elmo Stoll, Vernon Community, and the Caneyville Christian Community just to name a few. A quick side note: (many of the sub Amish types of groups where formed by people that where originally Amish New or Old Orders, Old German Baptist, or Mennonites. )If we trace the original Amish faith back to its beginnings we see that the North American Amish got started here in America due to a fellow named Jakob Ammann which formed the original group in the late 1700's in Switzerland. So to clear up the term Rumspringa in this post, we need to look at what language Jakob Ammann spoke and what part of the world he comes from?

One Of The Guys That Started The Amish Faith Found In North America Today

Female Horse Rider Carrying Flag In Rodeo.

Lady Rider Carrying American Flag In Rodeo.

Jakob Ammann was one of the first people to lead the Anabaptist movement which later came to North America. Originally Jakob Ammann was from Erlenbach im Simmental Canton of Bern found in Switzerland, where the main languages are German, French, Romansh, and Italian . Starting in Switzerland the first documentation of Jakob being noted in the Anabaptist movement was around the  year 1680 . Before Jakob's movement to the Amish religion it was noted that Jakob was in fact baptized into the Old German Baptist type of religion prior to him joining the Amish church, which has Anabaptist beliefs.  Jakob Ammann can also be considered one of the founding people responsible for defining a difference in the Swiss Amish religion compared to the Amish religion found else where in the world, due to Jakob's interpretation of certain scriptures from the Bible. 

Things To Remember About Jakob Ammann That Helps Explain The Amish Religion Today 

  1. Jakob moved from Switzerland to the north of France in a placed referred to as Heidolsheim, to a community named Alsace. This move by Jakob started a separation between the Swiss Brethren, today know as the Swiss Mennonites and the Swiss Amish. 
  2. Jakob Ammann showed a difference between the Amish and the Swiss Brethren religion by his questions on shunning, excommunication of liars, and concerns for people that don't follow God's word ( Amish Anabaptist beliefs), if they could still be saved.
  3. Jakob Ammann was also responsible after helping start the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites, for beginning the difference in dress and beard growing of married men between the two religions.  

Now since you have a little history behind one of the founders of the Amish religion and have seen that the original Amish religion started in Switzerland you might be asking why do the old order Amish and Mennonites of the United States speak Dutch, why not French or one of the other languages found in Switzerland? During the time of Jakob Ammann and many of the followers of the Anabaptists movement in Switzerland, many that followed Anabaptist teachings had to flea from religious persecution to Germany. In this move to Germany this is where the Dutch of Pennsylvania Dutch we hear today, comes from. But, don't misunderstand in this escape from persecution the Amish followers picked up many different dialects of Dutch such as Swiss German or Amish Alsatian German which we can hear today all spoken in the United States along with English and Dutch mixed. (Quick Note: Keep in mind that these dialects are similar to each other, but not exactly the same.) 

Not All Amish Communities Are Created Equal That's How Rumspringa Began

Huntingdon Amish Home.

Huntingdon Tennessee Amish Home /New Order Amish

Amish Saddle Maker In Ethridge Tennessee.

Swartzentruber Amish Home In Ethridge Tennessee/ Old Order

Much like the two Amish homes in the above pictures you will see a difference. It takes a well trained eye to notice exactly what those differences are but, for people that are interested in the Amish culture and have been exposed to the Amish people, at first glance you will see a huge difference!!! Much like the diverse beginnings of the Amish culture the Amish of today not only dress differently to show what order or sect of Amish religion they belong to but, also construct homes differently, and have different beliefs in many areas of life and religion. This difference in religious beliefs on the subject of what is correct and incorrect, is basically one reason Rumspringa as we know it began. For the Amish families that are part of larger Amish communities such as in Lancaster, found in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. The Amish community there believes in hard work, family values, and keeping with the word of God.

Now it is generally expected in the larger Amish communities that the younger Amish youth when reaching an age to get ready to find a spouse and settle down,  are encouraged to marry within the Amish that are actively practicing within the Amish faith. Rumspringa is considered a time for those Amish youth to do just that, its a time for the younger youths of the Amish communities found in larger Amish settlements to go out and experience the outside world.  Not only to meet other teens within the Amish community around where they live, that they would have never met before, due to their daily work and chores that the Amish youth are responsible for on the farms. But, to some what change their lifestyle that usually does not include modern things such as internet, T.V., cell phones, and larger social groups. This exploring of the modern world is to put at rest ideas younger Amish people have on these foreign modern subjects. Rumspringa over all is a time to find basically a spouse and make social connections with other Amish members of the community for their adult life, and to decide if when reaching adulthood the Amish teens want to keep with an Amish lifestyle or live in a more modern English fashion.    

Points To Remember About Rumspringa

  • Rumspringa is a time for the Amish Teens to "Sow Their Wild Oats"
  • Amish teens are encouraged to meet and make friends with other Amish teens during Rumspringa
  • During Rumspringa teens are encouraged to look for a spouse
  • Rumspringa fulfills modern experiences for Amish youth that have never done so before, due to their religious beliefs and lifestyle
  • Rumspringa is a time for the Amish teen to decide if they want to keep living in an Amish type of lifestyle

Why Smaller Amish Communities Practice Rumspringa Differently Or Not At All

In an Amish community such as in Lancaster Pennsylvania there are around 30,000 Amish people in the community. If you where a younger Amish teen living in the Pennsylvania Amish community finding a boyfriend or girlfriend might not be as difficult as in a smaller Amish communities. After all one of the main purposes of Rumspringa is to prepare the Amish youth for later Adult life.  But, what about the smaller Amish communities found in places such as Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas what do their Amish teens do for Rumspringa? Now many times in the smaller communities of the Amish religion Rumspringa is not practiced at all. If the smaller Amish communities do partake in Rumspringa many times it will be by giving the Amish youth in those communities more time together after events such as church. But, this brings about questions for the old Cooner here such as, what if the younger Amish teens in a small Amish community, can't find a member of the opposite sex they like?  I have to say I was surprised when I found an answer for my question, when I ask a member of our local Amish community here. My Amish friend told me after I ask, do you all practice Rumspringa? with a puzzled look my Amish friend answered me by saying

"Why would I want to go run about!!! I'm Not exactly sure what your asking me?"

I found my Amish friends response on Rumspringa very interesting. I have to say that I was very surprised after I explained what I meant about Rumspringa and gave him a detailed description of how the old order Amish communities of Pennsylvania practice Rumspringa for the youth there.  Then the next statement I received from my Amish friend was astounding to my ears. My friend explained that many times because smaller Amish communities, for instance like here in Tennessee the Amish community may not have as many young teen members of marrying age. What happens is the teens many times will move from one Amish community to another, say from Tennessee to Pennsylvania looking for a future spouse, future places to start a new business, or future farms!! 

Does Rumspringa Always Mean Alcohol And Drugs

We have all seen the internet clips and documentaries about Rumspringa that show all of the Amish teens involved abusing drugs and alcohol, but is this ALWAYS the case? Much like anyone else that experienced a wild youth full of exploring new things, peer pressure, and all the fruits of youth the Amish teens are no different. Now keep in mind that the Amish communities got their start in Switzerland and Germany and speak a dialect of dutch . The "Sprits" or alcohol consumption if we take a look into a study show some higher percentages of Alcohol consumed in these countries as compared to other countries, here is a quick link, Alcohol Consumed By Country. It's a really horrible fact, but unfortunately in many studies alcoholism is much higher in people that have family members, that had a problem with alcohol, and it is also believed that alcoholism can be genetic in nature!!!  So I would speculate that the Amish people as a whole might be more at risk of such a horrible disease as alcoholism.

Lastly, lets also not forget that tobacco is still grown by many different Amish communities.  Be that air cure tobacco like the type found here in middle Tennessee, or the flue cured tobacco found in different parts of the world. I have to say if a person grew and sold tobacco such as the Amish farmers do, then their mindset might be, why not also smoke the tobacco you grew?

Amish Barn With Tobacco Hanging Up.

Amish Barn With Tobacco Hanging Up.

Luckily, many Amish people are avid readers and study many different subjects, such as health. So the picture that has been painted about Rumspringa always being nothing more than an all out drug fueled party is not always the case. Don't get me wrong there is plenty of celebrations going on during Rumspringa but, many Amish teens do in fact find a spouse, meat new friends, learn to have a more worldly lifestyle, and return to a simple religious Amish lifestyle.  

Sadly this post has come to an end, I hope you all have enjoyed learning a little more about Rumspringa and where it started and why the Amish people do or do NOT celebrate it in their youth. If you enjoyed this blog post please feel free to leave us a comment we love to hear the ideas and views of our readers. Make sure to look around our website and check out our other webpages. If you like the blog and want to stay on top of everything going on here at The Amish Of Ethridge, make sure to sign up for the news letter. Lastly, if your looking around the old inner webs make sure to look for The Amish Of Ethridge on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Thank you all again for reading and have a great day, and an even better tomorrow. 


Do the Mennonites youth celebrate Rumspringa?

Yes some groups of the Mennonites such as the Wegner Mennonite youth do in fact celebrate Rumspringa.

What are different ways smaller groups of Amish communities celebrate Rumspringa besides parties?

Many times the smaller groups of  Amish youth in a smaller Amish community celebrate by a little more freedom in decision making on family and personal life matters,  more time after event s such as church, holidays, and more personal time after chores are done. 

Do some Amish communities just not celebrate Rumspringa at all?

Yes, many Amish communities don't celebrate Rumspringa at ALL!! As a matter of fact many Amish people have never even heard of Rumspringa, as a time for young Amish teens, such as in the community found here in Tennessee.

What amount of Amish teens return to an Amish lifestyle and are baptized into the Amish church after Rumspringa?

In a quick internet search I found this article: 

Rumspringa: Amish Teens Venture into Modern Vices

at NPR heard on Talk OF The Nation which had an article that made reference to the book Rumspringa: To Be or Not To Be Amish  and an Excerpt: 'Rumspringa' written by Tom Shachtman. In Toms research it showed  about 80% of Amish teen return to Amish lifestyle after Rumspringa. 

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