When driving through the countryside, you might notice large five-point stars adorning the sides of many barns. Although these barn stars may look like decoration, they actually have a larger significance.
Barn stars, as they’re known, are common in farming settlements with German heritage and they’re believed to bring good luck.
Like the superstition of hanging a horseshoe on a barn, barn stars began as a attempt to ward off evil. German settlers sometimes painted elaborate star images on their barns that eventually came to be known as “hex signs.” The term was derived from the word “hexe,” which means “witch” in German. The original paintings resembled Amish quilt squares more so than what we classically think of as a star.
In the 1930s and 40s, the trend changed from being painted on the barn to being pieces of art that farmers could purchase and hang. Artists made them with roofing tiles, which is what gives them their rough appearance.
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The color of the barn star is also significant. Each color had a different meaning. For example, black and blue both mean protection. Green signifies fertility and a hope for growth on the farm. White stands for purity, and violet was considered holy. Brown means friendship and strength and pays homage to Mother Earth.