In the Amish religion, there lies a pivotal tradition for many of its adolescent followers. There are a number of Americans whom are likely to have never heard of this rite; as it is practiced by a small demographic, consisting of roughly 200,000 people . Their tradition, referred to as the Pennsylvania-German term "Rumspringa", can best be explained by the word's translation. With "rum-", translating in English to "around", and "-schpringe", meaning "to run" or "to skip", Rumspringa roughly translates to: "running around". In essence, this is what the young participants do, as they explore the modern American society. While this tradition entails both religious symbol and myth, the primary purpose behind Rumspringa is to serve as a religious ritual.
Upon turning 16, it is by the decision of the youth whether he or she will go and explore the outer limits of the Amish community and religion. It is at this age that a person is thought to be mature enough to make wise informed decisions. Sometimes lasting for years, participants live in modern society, what the Amish refer to as, "The Devil's Playground". Throughout their journey, the adolescents are expected to reflect upon whether or not they would like to return to their religion and make a lifetime commitment to the sacrificial lifestyle . Should they return home from the luxuries of technology and temptations of video games, cars, alcohol, drugs and such, they can then be baptized and forever committed to the Amish religion.
While the practice of Rumspringa itself if ritual, the origins of this tradition are based on a myth promoted by English philosopher John Locke. Following the Lutheran Reformation, there was an emergence of a number of Christian sects. One such sect was the Anabaptists ("rebaptizers), held an opposing stance to the practice of baptism at birth. It was their belief that only when one had reached adulthood, could they make a... [continues]
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