Why do Amish have beards (What do Beards Mean to the Amish)?

As a devout Christian, I am always interested in learning more about every religious doctrine on earth. A few years ago, I developed an interest in the Amish as a religious group and their way of life. I was intrigued by their dress code and physical attributes. I decided to visit the Amish community in Lancaster County and interact with them. Last month, I received a question on a forum I moderate, and a member wanted to know why Amish have beards. This question stemmed from our previous discussion on the dress code of the Amish. Based on my research and what I learned during my interaction with the Amish, I had all the answers to this question. So “Why do Amish men have beards?”.

The Amish men grow beards because they are required to do so after they commit to their life partners. Amish people are known to live a decent and simple life, as they try not to imitate the modern world. In modern culture, when a couple gets married, they are meant to wear rings that symbolize their union. Jewelry is not permitted among the Amish people, so men must start growing their beards immediately after getting married to be identified as married men.

So, join me until the end as I inform you more about what I learned concerning the Amish people. I will explain the origin of the Amish beard, what beards mean to the Amish, and why the Amish people wear beards with no mustache. I will also explain what happens if an Amish man is unable to grow a beard, among other interesting topics.

What is the origin of the Amish beard?

The Amish beard originated around the sixteenth century when their leader Jakob Ammann separated himself from the Mennonites. This is after he had excommunicated almost half of the members of the Mennonite church. After his separation, Jakob decided to form his own religious doctrine, the now-famous Amish doctrine.

Since Jakob still believed in God and the scriptures, he established a set of rules with his leaders that would keep his church close to God. He then dictated the Amish dress code, the use of technology, and how they were to groom their hair.

According to Jakob, facial hair was created by God as a symbol of the transition from boy to man. Therefore, men were not to go against God by shaving their beards. Jakob and his leaders supported this view with bible scriptures recorded in Leviticus 19:27. Jakob also wanted his church members to keep unity amongst themselves, and keeping beards was one way to do so, as stated in the bible through Psalms 133:1-2.

What do Beards mean to the Amish?

What do Beards Mean to the Amish?
What do Beards mean to the Amish? Image source: Pixabay


Beards in the Amish community means that one is married. As stated earlier, Amish people strive to live a simple life and try not to incorporate the modern world into their circle. Commonly, when a couple gets married, they exchange wedding rings to symbolize their marriage. Wedding rings are categorized under pieces of jewelry, which Amish people think are unnecessary and are earthly things. So instead of wedding rings, an Amish man is required to keep his beard long to show that he is now a married man. Amish women, in turn, continue keeping their hair as they are not allowed to cut it.


Beards among the Amish people have also been used to symbolize manhood. A person can quickly tell the difference between a man and a boy by just looking at their beards. Once a boy becomes a man in the Amish community, he will be expected to step up and be more responsible and think of creating a family as soon as possible because the Amish people believe in having large families.


Beards have also been used among the Amish people to mean peace. This is related to their rule of having no mustache as part of growing their facial hairs. When the Amish religious doctrine had been formed, there were rules forbidding men from shaving their facial hair. However, it is the same time that the military men took pride in identifying themselves by keeping their mustaches and beards long. Being non-violent people, the Amish people decided to shave their mustaches and remain with beards alone to signify peace. The Amish people have stood with their belief in non-violence and are determined to live so.

Unity and humility

The Amish people also wear beards to represent unity and humility in their religion. Amish people believe in God and therefore believe in the scriptures. Two scriptures in the bible are believed to be the source of why the Amish people keep their beards.

In Leviticus 19:27, men are warned against shaving around the sides of their heads or disfiguring the edges of their beards. If you have encountered Amish men, you will not know that they keep their beards long and don’t trim their edges. They also do not shave their facial hair, as the scripture states.

Amish people also grow their beards to symbolize unity, as recorded in Psalms 133:1-2. The scripture states that brothers who dwell in unity are as pleasant as the precious oil that runs down on men’s heads through their beards.

Why are Amish beards worn with no mustache?

Why do Amish have beards?
Why are Amish beards worn with no mustache? Image source: Pixabay

Amish men started wearing beards with no mustache to distinguish themselves from military men. Amish people are known to be peaceful people who strive to maintain peace and harmony with everyone. In the eighteenth to twentieth century, military men were required to grow their mustaches to symbolize being in the military. With this move, the Amish people had to find a way to remain different from the military men, so they decided to shave their mustaches.

Although the military people were banned from having facial hair during World War 1 to wear their gas masks properly, the Amish people have maintained their no-mustache rule, which has become one of their signature looks.

What happens if an Amish man is unable to grow a beard?

If an Amish man marries and he cannot grow his beard like the other married men, nothing happens to him. He will not be penalized or discriminated against for this and can count themselves as a normal Amish man.

However, an Amish man must keep whatever hair he has on his beard or face, however tiny it may be. He is not required to shave it off completely because he has no long beard like everyone else. If the community or the church realizes that the man shaves his beard, he may face the consequences, as this rule is about not shaving your beard after getting married.

Are beards a requirement for being Amish?

Beards are not requirements for being an Amish per se because we have seen that there is a possibility for a man not to grow his beard. However, a rule requires an Amish man to keep his beard and not shave it off once he gets married to show his commitment to his new life and leadership as the man of the house.

The Ordnung, known as the set of rules for the Amish people, must be followed by every Amish person and must be adhered to. If an Amish man gets married and continues to shave his beard for whatever, he may be given a warning by the elders or be excommunicated from this religious setting if he continues to defy this rule.

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