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It’s in the stars

September 5, 2008
By Cindy Votruba

MARSHALL - When Elly and Dave Sprik moved into their house across from First Lutheran Church, there was already a big black decorative barn star on the side of the red brick chimney.

"The lady we bought the house from had it up," Elly Sprik said.

Elly Sprik said they loved the star and chose to keep it right where it was, on the chimney in front of the house.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Barn stars, such as the one at Dave and Elly Sprik’s home, have cropped up on the front of houses around Marshall. The barn star is considered a symbol of good luck and good fortune.

"We decided it was the perfect thing, it had to stay," Sprik said.

Barn stars have been known as a sign of good luck and good fortune and have also become a bit of a decorating trend around Marshall and the surrounding area.

Jane Hennen has a red star on the front of her house.

"I like the looks of it," Hennen said. Hennen said the star symbolizes the history of being from the farm.

"It's something I thought would be attractive.," Hennen said.

Hennen said the color of the star also went with the front of her house.

"It blended in with the brick," Hennen said.

Hennen said she got her barn star about a year-and-a-half ago from a shop in Mankato. She's started seeing them at bigger stores, such as Kohl's.

"Now they're much more around," Hennen said.

Hennen said her daughter, Rhonda Buysse, also has a star on her farmhouse in rural Ghent.

Phyllis Marks has a black barn star nestled between the windows on the side of her house.

"Everybody's got them up and I like them," Marks said. "I guess it's the thing to do."

Marks said the barn star is just a simple decorative item to put up.

According to the American Tin Star Web site, the barn star tradition dates back to the 1700s. They were most popular after the Civil War on older American barns, mainly on German farms. Barn stars were also seen on Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch farms. Colors were significant in the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch barn paintings and the colors would symbolize a certain attribute:

Black - protection, also used to blend or bind elements together

Red - emotions, passion, charisma, lust and creativity

White - purity, power of the moon, allows energy to flow freely

Blue - protection, peace, calmness and spirituality

Green - growth, fertility, success in things and ideas that grow

Yellow - health in body and mind, love of man and the sun, connection to God

Brown - mother earth, also can mean friendship and strength

Orange - abundance in career, projects and matters needing an added push

Violet - things that are sacred

Beth Anderson of Marshall Decorating Center said she sells red barn stars around the fourth of July and again around Christmas.

"I love them," Anderson said.

Forever Sara sells barn stars in red, white and blue. Emily Lozinski of Forever Sara said one of the reasons the barn star has become popular is because of the war in Iraq, and it's used an expression of patriotism.

"I think that's why they sell around the fourth (of July)," Anderson said. "They're carried on as a symbol of freedom."



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