Mennonites adhere to the principles of non-violence and pacifism in life. Weapons in their hands can appear only for the sake of obtaining food during the hunt, but they do not serve in the army. Basically, the followers of Menno Simons are engaged in agriculture, housekeeping and raising children.
Mennonites live extremely isolated, reject technical progress and do not use everything that has long become customary outside the communities: electricity, the Internet, television and any household appliances. In addition to farming and agriculture, they also monitor the condition of the roads near their settlements, since this responsibility was entrusted to them by the authorities, allowing them to use the land in return.
They independently build and equip their houses, and they acquire building materials from the income received from the sale of bakery products, dairy and meat products. True, the community maintains relations with the outside world exclusively through the mayor - the head of the settlement. It is he who conducts all negotiations and organizes trade. Some Mennonite communities allow the use of agricultural machinery such as a tractor. But only the mayor can own it.
Modern Mennonites do not adhere to a strict dress code in clothing, although they do have certain rules. They depend on the traditions of each particular community and their church. Basically, representatives of all groups dress very similarly. They sew clothes on their own, but buy fabric.
For men, clothing should be comfortable. Usually these are simple shirts and overalls made of wear-resistant fabric. Women wear closed dresses, plain or floral, and hats. Children's clothing repeats the adult.
There is no talk of any entertainment in the communities, Mennonites do not listen to music, and alcohol is strictly prohibited, as are mobile communications, the Internet and television. Even some kind of entertainment between families is not welcome. The purpose of life for Mennonites is to work and fellowship with God.
Mennonites marry exclusively within the community, young men can start a family from about 20 years old, girls - from 19. Naturally, one should not even think about any premarital relations and short novels here. When curious people come to the settlements, they are greeted with extreme caution. Representatives of the older generation do not like to be photographed, but middle-aged people, young people and adolescents do not shy away from cameras.
Mennonite babies are taught to work from an early age. Girls can milk goats and cows, cook simple meals, sew clothes and knit. Boys help adults in cultivating land, grazing livestock, and collecting firewood. True, this does not mean at all that Mennonite children are completely devoid of childish joys. Toys for toddlers are made by local craftsmen; sweets made from natural products are specially prepared for them.
At a certain age, all children sit down at their desks in local schools. Everyone should be able to read, write and count. Those subjects are taught that will definitely find application in everyday life. English is necessary for trade, geometry is needed so that you can build a house, without mechanics it is impossible to fix a cart.
All children are taught to be humble and obedient; breaking the prescribed rules can result in severe punishment. That is why children are adult-oriented and try not to do anything without permission.
Mennonites are carriers of Christian norms and traditions. They believe in salvation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, while refusing any participation in political life. They see their mission in humble service and sacrificial love, but they are extremely strict with apostates. Those who have sinned and have not repented of their sin may well be excommunicated from the church, but preachers will certainly pray for the sinner in the hope that he will return to the bosom of the church. Politics, wars and worldly vanity are not about the Mennonites.
True, in recent years, communities have emerged calling themselves "moderate Mennonites." They use technology, but they serve themselves on their own. Some groups have even created their own colleges and universities, and their pastor may well be a woman.
Those who have had a chance to communicate with the Mennonites claim: they are very hardworking, neat and modest, and their good deeds can serve as an example for other people.
Mennonites used to be in Russia as well, but in the 19th century they were forced to leave the country. Among them were mainly Germans and Dutch, who moved to Russia during the time of Catherine II. The Empress promised the emigrants freedom of religion and indefinite exemption from military service. But in 1874, all foreign settlers were recognized as liable for military service. This demand was contrary to the religious beliefs of the Mennonites, and they decided to leave the country.