Barn stars, those endearing decorations on top of barn doors, have more meaning than you might initially think. They are there because German-American farmers think they can preserve their crops and bring wealth. The hue of each star offers a distinct message. Green represents crop fertility and growth, while blue or black signifies protection for the farmer, household, and crops. Brown represents a friendship.
These celebrities have a history that dates back to the 1830s, when they first became well-known among the Pennsylvania Dutch population, who were noted for leading modest lives. Hex signs and barn stars, however, are two parallel traditions that both use these symbols.
Barn stars were originally associated with the agricultural way of life, not with supernatural ideas, according to Patrick Donmoyer from Kutztown University. Hex signs were mistakenly misread as quilt squares and barn stars by an artist in the 1920s. By the 1950s, they had developed into a popular tourist destination, retaining Pennsylvania Dutch customs and culture.
In reality, although they were believed to fend off evil, Pennsylvania Dutch used barn stars as ornamental family heirlooms.