Why Do Amish Men Wear Beards But Not Mustaches?

A long beard is often a defining characteristic of an Amish man — just as long as there's no mustache with it. So why no lip whiskers?

A Great Big Bushy Beard

Beginning in the 17th century, mustaches became a requirement for British soldiers. (Redcoats were not allowed to shave their lips until 1916.) Soldiers often harassed the Amish and other Mennonites in Europe, so that's one strike against the 'stache. The Amish are also famously pacifist, so they wouldn't want to look anything like local soldiers. Strike two.

So why do Amish men sport those beards? Several Bible verses tout the importance of beards (Psalm 133:1-2 and Leviticus 19:27 are just two), and the Amish are very devout. The Amish also don't exchange wedding rings, so the beard serves as a visual alert that the gentleman behind the whiskers is spoken for.

Why Do Amish Men Wear Beards But Not Moustaches?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The word for the ability to grow a beard is pogonotrophy. 00:06

  2. Research shows that testosterone levels in men with full beards and men who don’t grow full beards are roughly the same. 00:50

  3. Men's facial hair growth is more mediated by genetics than testosterone. 01:19

Written by Curiosity Staff December 22, 2016