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.

If you'd like to learn more about Amish customs, check out "The Amish: A Concise Introduction" by Steven M. Nolt.  We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.  

Written by Curiosity Staff December 22, 2016

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