Living here near one of the biggest Amish communities in the country, I get to see a lot of hex signs and barn stars. Many people have the original signs on their barns from when the Pennsylvania Dutch first came to America and carried their culture with them to this country. Many of these signs have been restored to their original brightness and color, while others lay in wait as secrets. They are there if you know where to look.
Hex signs and barn stars have also been adopted by the non amish, the non dutch and integrated into current decor. Many people use these signs as decoration both indoor and out, to give their homes a quaint country or Americana feel. Still others enjoy the meaning behind the symbols.
The terms “hex sign” and “barn star” are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean different things. and then there is other decoration called a barn star, which is generally a piece of wood or tin in the shape of a traditional five-point star. This is also called a barn star, but it is more of a modern adaptation to the idea.
Traditionally, “hex signs” are signs that incorporate complex shapes and symbols, such as goldfinches, tulips and hearts, while “barn stars” tend to feature geometric patterns, often in the shape of stars with a variety in the number of points. Originally, these hex signs and barns stars were painted directly onto the barn or house. Although that practice may still be in effect, especially when restoring an original sign, today it is more common to paint the sign on board and then mount the board to the barn or elsewhere.
If you want to go shopping for a hex sign or barn star, it might be helpful to know the meaning behind some of the symbols. Of course, there is nothing wrong with just choosing a sign just for its look and appeal.
Here is a quick guide to the symbols.
12-pointed star: The months of the year; Christ’s apostles; justice
4-pointed star: The four seasons
Hearts: love, affection, marriage
Acorns and oak leaves: strength
Tulips: Faith, Hope, charity; the Holy Trinity
Distelfinks (goldfinches): Good luck; happiness
Shamrocks: Good luck; Irish heritage
Rosettes: Prosperity; Good fortune
Eagles: Patriotism; Courage
Unicorns: Virtue; Plenty
If you come across a symbol not listed here. please let me know, and I’ll research the meaning.
Mary Ann Romans writes about everything related to saving money in the Frugal Blog, technology in the Computing Blog, and creating a home in the Home Blog. You can read more of her articles by clicking here.