Some of the most well-known Amish beliefs center around their aversion to modern electronics and the religion's dependence on agriculture in order to sustain their lifestyle. But one of the biggest mysteries of the Amish faith is rumspringa, an Amish coming-of-age ritual where teenagers leave their farm to explore the outside world, all while deciding whether or not they want to stay in the Amish religion. If the Amish teens don’t return to their families, they have to leave the farm and find their own way in the world, but if they decide to stick with the Amish faith, they have to deny all worldly pleasures and give themselves over to God.
What do Amish teenagers actually do when leave their families in order to find themselves amongst the riff-raff of middle America? Do Amish teens cast off their dorky clothes in favor of jeans and t-shirts, drive cars, and drink a lot of beer, or...? Read along, and explore the truth behind rumspringa.
If you're Amish and you really want to rebel, you don't go off on a yearlong exploration of your faith, you just go wild while you're still on the farm. Some Amish teens sneak away after everyone goes to bed and have fun at "English" parties or even secretly stash beer, cigarettes, or a transistor radio in the barn.
In May 2016, five Amish teenagers thought to be on rumpsringa were pulled over when Indiana state troopers caught them driving 110 mph in their minivan and tossing cans of beer out the window. When the state troopers searched the vehicle, they found a handle of whiskey and multiple cases of beer.
Some members of the Amish community aren't sure about what to do when they leave their farms, but not these four music loving guys. The members of the Amish Outlaws formed their band while on rumspringa in 2002 after deciding not to return to the Amish religion.
According to a teen who's been on rumspringa for two years, children in the Amish community are dying to take a break from their life in the fields. “From a very young age you look forward to this. You can’t wait to turn 16,” she explains. The teenager also describes a "band party" with hundreds of rumspringers in attendance.