What do Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs mean?

The Pennsylvania Dutch may have mounted hex signs on barns for their purported magical properties. Some believed that hex signs provided protection, fertility for livestock, the right balance of sun and rain, and success with crops. Hex signs could feature a variety of symbols, including birds and flowers.

Are hex signs evil?

One says hex signs are intended to ward off evil. The other, as Claypoole said in Pennsylvania Dutch parlance, is simpler: “They’re just for nice.” … Few hex signs are found in Germany’s Palatinate, the region from which the Pennsylvania Germans emigrated, Claypoole said.

What is a daddy hex?

Claypoole calls this design “Daddy Hex.” He says the symbols mean “to keep away famine, plague and all evils of life.” The rosettes “ward-off disease and pestilence.” … This design features a six-point star, which represents the Star of David. It represents peace, happiness, good luck and good health.

Why is it called a hex sign?

The “fancy” farmers also decorated their large German style bank barns with colorful geometric patterns. Six-pointed star designs were very popular. The German word for six, “sechs”, sounded like hex to their English-speaking neighbors. In time these “hex” patterns became commonly called hex signs.

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Why are there hex signs on barns?

The markings, colors, and designs on hex signs are believed by many to protect the barns and the animals housed inside from fire, lightning, sickness and the work of evil spirits, demons and witchcraft. They might augment fertility of livestock or encourage the right balance of sun and rain for success with crops.

Where are hex signs commonly found?

Hex signs can be found throughout Pennsylvania, and are especially prominent in Berks County. Today, Donmoyer says people are still painting hex signs on their barns. “It’s not just Pennsylvania Dutch, “said Donmoyer, “it’s part of a regional experience.”

What is a Fraktur?

Definition of Fraktur

1 : a German style of black letter. 2 often not capitalized : a Pennsylvania German document (such as a birth or wedding certificate) that is written in calligraphy and illuminated with decorative motifs (such as tulips, birds, and scrolls)

Is Pennsylvania Dutch an ethnicity?

The Pennsylvania Dutch (also called Pennsylvania Germans or Pennsylvania Deutsch) are descendants of early German immigrants to Pennsylvania who arrived in droves, mostly before 1800, to escape religious persecution in Europe.

What does Wilkom mean?

Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Sign…Home “Wilkom” (welcome) sign with single Distelfink (bird) (on barns or homes)

What does the distelfink bird symbolize?

A distelfink is a stylized goldfinch, probably based on the European variety It frequently appears in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. It represents happiness and good fortune and the Pennsylvania German people, and is a common theme in hex signs and in fraktur.

What does a hex symbolize?

Additional features may include stars, hearts, and tulips, either on the leaves or circling around the tree. A home hex sign might feature birds, a star, and leaves to symbolize good luck. Some farmers mounted hex signs for healing. Others believed in the hex signs’ power to bring abundance and material goods.

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What does hex mark mean?

Definition of hex mark

: a usually stylized often symbolic design placed on a structure (as a building or an enclosure for animals) for the purpose of warding off evil spirits or simply for its decorative effect — compare hexafoos.

What design is considered to be the most popular and familiar hex sign?

Hex sign with a tulip star pattern. This design, generally one of the more familiar and popular, features a star, typically blue, with eight points, laid out symmetrically. Red tulips and sheaves of wheat are placed between the star’s points, in an alternating pattern.

What does a quilt square on a barn mean?

Some of the squares, like Groves’, are created to honor or remember a quilter. Parron related the story of one woman who created a barn quilt in the Dutch doll design that had special meaning for her mother.

What do barn quilts stand for?

Barn quilts began as a way to honor a loved one with a gorgeous piece of folk art. … In Adams County, Ohio, in 2001, Donna Sue Groves set out to honor her mother, Maxine, and her quilt art by painting a quilt block on her tobacco barn. The idea was a hit, and soon friends and neighbors wanted painted quilts of their own.

What do the metal stars on people’s houses mean?

Also known as primitive stars, these metal stars are common in farming settlements with German heritage and they’re believed to bring good luck. Like the superstition of hanging a horseshoe on a barn, the history of the barn star began as an attempt to ward off evil.

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