"Herrnhut Stars" Germany Local Custom Tip by Kathrin_E
Germany Local Customs: 320 reviews and 361 photos
The Herrnhut stars were invented in Herrnhut, the central settlement of the Moravian church which was founded by Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf in the 18th century. The original stars are still hand-made in the village of Herrnhut.
A real Herrnhut star consists of 18 square and 8 triangular peaks. Stars in any other shapes are not authentic. The peaks are mounted with little metal fasteners. Assembling the star takes a while and is part of traditional Advent preparations. No worries, it's easy and they come with an explanation in both German and English.
The traditional colours are red, white, or yellow, and bicolor with either a red interior and white or yellow peaks, or alternating in white and red or yellow and red. They come in paper for indoors or plastic for outdoors. A little electric lightbulb hangs inside to light them, available in cheaper indoor or safe and waterproof outdoor version.
Beginning as a local tradition, these stars are now sold and mailed all over the world.
Herrnhut is situated in the Lausitz in Saxony, so in that region the stars are most popular. In Dresden, for example, they are everywhere. Imagine an uglier than ugly 14-storey concrete apartment house when at night such a star is glowing on every second balcony. Wow!
In the 'West', churches were the first to have them. There is hardly a church in Germany that does not put up a big Herrnhut star above the altar during Advent and Christmas season. After the opening of the wall when people started travelling and visiting the Christmas markets in the East, the first ones appeared in windows over here, too. Nowadays they are still not as frequent as in Saxony, but you see quite a number of them over here, too. In my living room window, for example...
Mine is the smallest version, about 40 cm in diameter. I bought mine in Dresden on the Striezelmarkt where the Herrnhuter have a stall that sells nothing but these stars. They are now on sale on Christmas markets all over the country. Original ones come in such blue boxes as in photo 3.
More Reviews (12)
Kathrin_E's Related Pages
Have you been to Germany?Share Your Travels