Attaching a star on a house or a barn is part of the American tradition we all love, but these stars are far beyond pretty decorations.
For the farmers, the stars represent something more meaningful than items that catch the eye.
In fact, stars sighted above the door at the top of a barn have their roots steeped in historical significance and date back over a century.
These bold stars, that can be made out of wood or metal, are also known as Pennsylvania stars or primitive stars as they can be traced back to at least 1820s Pennsylvania. They became even more popular after the American Civil War, and nowadays, they are usually associated with prosperity and good fortune.
Different colors of the stars represent different things and have their own meaning and significance.
Although their practical significance have diminished over the years, the tradition continues as a symbol of culture and heritage.
Brown stars stand for friendship and strength, while white stars tell of purity and energy. If you see a violet star, meanwhile, it means holiness. The blue or black color are supposed to provide protection for the farm whose barn the star beautifies.
The green stars are symbols of growth and fertility for the crops growing on the farm, while bright yellow stars speak of love of man and the sun.
German-American farmers believed that positioning the stars at the very top of barns to ward would keep them safe from evil spirits and would help increase the chances of a good harvest.
Sometimes, instead of regular stars, people place ‘hex stars’ that began appearing in the 1950s.
According to the Kuztown Folk Festival, it was a man by the name of Milton Hill who started the transition from barn star to hex star in 1952.
During the late 1950s, a Pennsylvania Dutch folk painter named Johnny Ott began attaching superstitious meanings to his signs because he discovered that they sold better that way. It wasn’t long before these hex signs found their way to different countries of the world.