What is the meaning behind Metal Stars you've seen on old Houses?

Maya Devi

Photo byWikimedia

When traveling through rural areas in the United States, you might have noticed large metal or wooden stars on the exteriors of homes. These stars are commonly known as Amish Barn Stars, Barnstars, or Pennsylvania Stars, and they are often surrounded by superstition and myth.

One such myth is that the metal star is a symbol used by homeowners to identify themselves as swingers. However, this is not true across the board.

The rumor seems to have originated in 2007 when a thread was started on stripersonline.com, claiming that the metal star was a sign that the homeowners were swingers. This conclusion seems to be entirely arbitrary, and there is no evidence to support it.

According to the New York Post, there are various other "secret signs" that people associate with swingers, such as pampas grass, pink flamingos, and pineapple decor. However, none of these signs have been substantiated.

The star-shaped décor is known as a “barn star,” and it is believed to have originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, who settled in the area to escape religious persecution in the 18th century. The Amish, Mennonites, and others began painting different symbols on barns or homes, including the star, which was thought to bring good luck.

Eventually, the practice extended beyond religious affiliation, and homeowners began using the star as a kind of property fashion statement or as a symbol of a warm welcome to visitors. Some people also view it as patriotic, a practice that became popular after the end of the Civil War.

However, not everyone agrees that there is a deeper meaning to the star. According to Pennsylvania Dutch historian David Fooks, the star didn't hold any particular significance, and the Amish simply liked to decorate their barns, which were vital to their farming communities.

A slightly different type of star, known as a star bolt or star anchor, can sometimes be seen on brick buildings. These stars are not decorative but instead serve as washers for iron rods placed through a sagging or compromised wall to maintain its structural integrity and prevent it from buckling further.

In some cases, people hang stars purely for ornamental purposes, and they believe that the star's color represents different things. For instance, a black star may signify protection, a blue star may represent peace, while a red star may symbolize passion. Therefore, the swinger rumor may hold some truth, depending on the color of the star.

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I have done my graduation in history and politics. I write unique and interesting articles focused on our day to day life.


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