from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A period of adolescence for some members of the Amish that begins around the age of 14–16 and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community.


Pennsylvania Dutch, from rumspringen to jump around. (Wiktionary)



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  • Bilby, there's an interesting chart here comparing modern German and Pennsylvania German (which is more often called Pennsylvania Dutch).

    December 2, 2007

  • I think it's part of both, uselessness. Sort of a rite of passage--the acceptance that because they're not yet full members of the church (and teenagers to boot), a certain amount misbehavior is tolerated. I believe it's also when they're meant to choose between baptism or leaving the church, so the idea is that they enter adult religious life knowingly and informed.

    I can't claim to be an expert, but from what I know it's not as much a zero-tolerance faith as you'd think. :-)

    December 2, 2007

  • Possibly from standard German herumspringen meaning to scamper ... in this sense being let loose to run around outside the Amish community.

    December 1, 2007

  • I just have to wonder what the parents' general attitude is. Are they saying "go on, son, be a wild man, deny yourself nothing, live it up... and then come crying back to us when you can't take it anymore"?

    Or is it more like "doing this stuff is wicked and terrible, and we don't want you to, but we can't stop you... and sooner or later when you come around we'll be here for you"?

    December 1, 2007

  • There's also the fact that they're completely ostracized ("shunned" from family and Amish community) should they decide not to return. I'd imagine that's a powerful draw.

    December 1, 2007

  • Usually a lot of these kids get burned by the outside world (drugs, drinking) and come running back, which binds them tighter to the community.

    December 1, 2007

  • Wow, that's fascinating. I thought the Amish were zero-tolerance folk... it's strange to seem them allowing that.

    December 1, 2007

  • Uselessness, here's more (better late than never). :-)

    December 1, 2007

  • Aww, I'd like to know the rest! Try using the bigger box for comments so they don't get cut off.

    June 28, 2007

  • June 28, 2007