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The Menonnite and Amish Communities

I’m sure there are a lot of people who have no idea who the Mennonites or Amish are, leave alone knowing their existence. I was one of those couple of years ago; thanks to traveling I cracked out of my shell.

There is a Mennonite community here in Belize located in Spanish Lookout in Cayo which settled in the 1950’s.  They normally go to Belize City on Fridays to sell their products and navigate freely without anyone staring because they are Belizeans and form part of the Belizean culture - this is one good thing about Belize, a multi-cultural country.

Who are the Mennonite and Amish?

Both the Mennonites and Amish originated from Anabaptist movement
which arose in the 16th century in Europe in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformation movement.

The Anabaptists believe on the emphasis of returning to the purity and simplicity of faith and practice as lived by the early Christian church. They do not practice the popular concept of infant baptism and believe only adults who have confessed their faith should be baptised and should remain separate from the larger society.

These Anabaptist groups were severely persecuted throughout Europe. Thousands were put to death as heretics by both Catholics and Protestants. To avoid this persecution many fled to the mountains of Switzerland and southern Germany. Here began the Amish tradition of farming and holding their worship services in homes rather than churches.


The Amish and Mennonites worship is against rituals, religious icons, and ostentation. The Mennonite churches are separate designated buildings used primarily for worship and are not ornate by any means.

In the Amish community, when children reach the age of 16 they are allowed to freely interact with the outside world until they reach 18 after which they have to decide whether they would like to join the Amish church or they are better off in the outside world. If you decide not to join the church then you are shunned, banned and avoided by the church members. But you are allowed anytime upon repentance to re-join the church. The Amish believe that influences of the outside world only interfere with the purity of their faith. They forbid higher education, refrain from the use of electricity and  ride in horse-drawn buggies.

The Mennonites on the other hand tend to be more tolerant of technology and the outside world. Furthermore, the Mennonites accept higher education and modern technology. They tend to see these influences as ways that can be used to strengthen their religious beliefs.

Both men, women, and children dress modestly in dark colours (usually black and blue) and seek to avoid any form of vanity. Some men wear no neckties or buttons on their clothes. Women wear long skirts, small bonnets and tie their hair in buns. Neither men nor women wear wedding rings or jewellery of any sort.

They are strongly attached to the land, most being in the dairy and farming business and also do carpentry work. Despite their restricted modes of transportation (horse and buggy), the Mennonites employ rather modern techniques on their dairy farms. Mechanical pumps and state-of-the-art medicines are all utilized.

The Mennonites have historically sought to increase their fellowship through missionary activities throughout the world, whereas the Amish have never felt the need for such activities.

6 comments:

  1. Sunny Day said...:

    This is my first visit to your blog. I look forward to learning about other cultures and religions if you post about them also. Thanks for doing this.

  1. Dirishani said...:

    Thank you, I like your blog and will be a regular visitor.

  1. A Joyful Chaos said...:

    I'm not sure where the false information that Amish teens are free to sample what the world has to offer orginated. But the public has latched on to that theory and seems every where you turn that is what you hear. I was born and raised Amish and in the community where I grew up there was only one teen that left in the 20 years I lived there. Some other communities have much more of a problem some as high as almost 25% but parents are heartbroken when a child decides to taste the world. And the ministers preach hard against it. There is never a set age when they can go experience these things.

    They are NOT shunned unless they had been a member of the church already.

  1. Dirishani said...:

    Thank you for correcting me as well as others on this. It is clear many people outside the Amish community are not well informed.

    I learned about the 'experiencing outside world freedom' from a documentary on discovery. We actually got to see the real Amish speaking, we saw inside their homes and the elders talking and explaining the basics. And yes we also saw the Amish teenagers (both girls and boys) within the community partying, drinking and mingling freely with each other. We also got to see the ones who actually left and had to decide whether they want to go back to their community or not at the age of 18 and above.

    Before seeing the documentary I was clueless but I respect everyone's wishes and privacy in life. Where I come from we are made to believe that Catholics are the pure Christians and it was (and still is) very interesting for me to learn about the Amish and Mennonites.

  1. Six_33 said...:

    And here I thought the Amish and the Mennonites originated from the US. I live in a vacuum! LoL! Wonderful history on where they originated.

  1. Dirishani said...:

    Thanks to blogging, we are popping out of our cocoons.

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