The Meaning Behind “Barn Stars”

A charming decoration that is usually seen over a barn’s door is a star. They can be constructed out of metal stars or painted on. Hex signs or quilt squares can occasionally be used in their place. These decorations serve a function, and it’s probably not what you were expecting.


It appears that German-American farmers give great importance to barn stars. They are placed atop barns to fend off evil or bring luck to the farmer’s harvest. It’s intriguing because they all have various meanings and can be different colors.

For instance, a green barn star represents the strength and fertility of the crops. However, blue or black barn stars signify security for the farmer, their family, and their crops. Brown, on the other side, stands for friendship.An Interesting History of Barn Stars

Barn Stars

Barn stars have been rather fashionable since they first appeared on barns in the 1830s. the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch community. Every insignia is a variation of imported European German traditional art. The Amish are known for living very basic lives away from popular culture and modern technologies.

Barn stars are only one of the numerous regional customs and traditions that have been handed down throughout time. What’s more remarkable is that things that are usually associated with one another have very different meanings for someone whose family has deep links to Pennsylvania Dutch traditions.

There are actually two parallel traditions, according to Patrick Donmoyer: “There are the barn stars, and then there are the hex signs.”

Barn Stars Might Provide Safety

Barn Stars

Donmoyer is in charge of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. Many of the hex marks also showed up in other locations, such marriage licenses, to bring good luck to newlyweds, he claimed. Or on grave stones to help the departed find comfort in the hereafter.

Since superstitions have been used for millennia, they have all changed to accommodate the demands of the world’s dynamic population. Contrary to popular belief, barn stars did not have the same significance or “power” as they have today.

In actuality, Donmoyer claims that “they were a component of the agrarian way of life. They were something that wasn’t always related to paranormal things or concepts. Actually, about a century after the barn stars first appeared, hex signs took after them and started to appear on barns.

Not All Hex Signs Are the Same

Barn Stars barn quilt

When visiting Pennsylvania Dutch Country in 1924, a New England artist by the name of Wallace Nutting “misinterpreted” the original quilt squares or barn stars to produce the hex signs.

“He was describing something real, but what he was describing was misunderstood,” said Donmoyer.He was actually talking about this concept of the hexenfoos, not the stars on the barn. He somewhat combined the two facets of the custom.

By the 1950s, these designs were being updated and were now a well-liked tourist attraction. The presence of barn stars and quilt squares on barns throughout Pennsylvania Dutch country serves as a reminder of the inventiveness, labor, and rituals of a culture that has long confused mainstream civilization.

The culture and customs that have been passed down from one generation to the next are represented by these symbols. Because of this, barn stars served for the Pennsylvania Dutch as a decorative reminder of their ancestors and their original area, despite being popularly thought to ward off evil.

Many cultures have a similar concept.

Barn Stars

As was already mentioned, superstitions have existed for a very long time. They are widely used to promote prosperity and happiness, as well as help fend against evil and bad karma. It should not be surprising that many tribes and nations have their own unique old symbols that have been modified to ward off evil and protect residences and families, much like barn stars.


Om or Aum symbol of Hinduism and Buddhism on blue background

For instance, during meditation and other spiritual practices, the symbol OM is widely employed to provide protection. Despite the fact that the word or sound has been heard by many, the term itself also has a visual meaning. In order to achieve a pleasant and harmonious balance between tranquility and life’s problems, it is believed to “purify” the body and mind.

The Horus Eye


Another example is the Eye of Horus from ancient Egypt. The potent symbol, which is usually seen in Egyptian wall art or jewelry, is meant to provide healing and protection. Or the Hamsa Hand, which is said to fend off evil and provide prosperity, good fortune, and health. It can be found in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.


Ontario, Canada, November 4, 2018: The Let it stand Totem Pole- the Turtle carving section at the East Gate, Algonquin Park.

It’s intriguing to learn that turtles are another highly valued symbol. Native American and African tribes view the turtle as a sign of enduring knowledge, fertility, and grounding.

Armor of Awe

The Helm of Awe or Helm of Terror. A modern Icelandic occult symbol that shares the name of the object in Norse mythology.

Last but not least, the Helm of Awe, a Norse symbol, is thought to protect warriors during battle and strike fear into the hearts of their foes.

Similar yet Distinct

The advancement of technology has made it easier to recognize the commonalities throughout numerous cultures and civilizations, each of which has its own name and meaning for these symbols, despite the fact that people in other countries have been shut off from one another.

However, each sign is seen as a promise of security, prosperity, and health and serves as a reminder of our forefathers’ hopes for the continued prosperity of our families and neighborhood.

Beautiful, straightforward patterns are found throughout the complex history of barn stars. View this video for additional suggestions and guidelines:

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