When driving through the countryside, you might notice large five-point stars adorning the sides of many barns. Although these metal barn stars may look like Americana wall decor, they actually have a larger significance.
Also known as primitive stars, these metal stars 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, the history of the barn star began as an 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 (heavy duty metal), which is what gives them their rusty tin appearance. Now these large barn stars are even common in home decor as wall art and garden decor.
READ MORE: The Surprising Reason Why Barns Are Red
The color of the star is also significant. Each color had a different meaning. For example, blue and black barn stars both represent protection. Green signifies fertility and 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.
If you're interested in having your own Americana barn star, either for indoor or outdoor use, stop by your local craft supplies store and explore their options. You can add a touch of folk art and Farmhouse decor to your home and hopefully bring some good luck.
This post was originally published on November 21, 2017.