The traditional Amish youth period of Rumspringa


Among the Amish, Rumspringa simply refers to adolescence. During the period known as Rumspringa, beginning at about age 16, Amish youth are no longer under the total control of their parents on weekends and, because they are not baptized, they are not yet under the authority of the church. During this time, many Amish youth adhere to traditional Amish behavior. Others experiment with “worldly” activities like buying a car, going to movies, or wearing non-Amish clothes. Contrary in the media. Rumspringa-age youth typically live at home until after joining the church and then getting married and moving into their own homes.

During Rumspringa, Amish youth enter a time of greater social activity. Traditional youth activities include volleyball, swimming, ice skating, picnics, hiking, and large outdoor “supper” parties. The most typical gatherings are “singings.” Groups meet in a home and sing German hymns and English gospel songs for several hours and then enjoy a time of conversation and food.

One of the purposes of Rumspringa is to find a mate. Amish begin dating during this period, and most eventually find a “special friend”. Amish youth dating activities vary by community.

Amish youth may be discreet about their dating. Dating typically begins when a young man offers a young lady a ride home after the Sunday night singing.

During this time, couples may exchange letters and spend weekends together with the
intent of marriage. However, before any plans can be made, the parents must give their blessing. The young man eventually approaches the deacon to state his intent to marry the woman he has chosen.

Rumspringa ends with baptism into the church.

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