Christmas is here. Moravian star decorations are everywhere, adding sparkles and nostalgia to the holiday season. Discover its cultural importance and story behind its brilliance.
Every Christmas, the story of the three Magi (wise men) from the East and the Star of Bethlehem is retold in nativity scenes around the world.
The classic 26 point Moravian star, (Herrnhuter Stern as known in German) is a symbol of the Moravian Church. The decorative star lit up at Advent through Christmas and taken down after Epiphany.
Moravians love their illuminated star-shaped lantern which continues to become a cultural and faith icon throughout the holiday season. The star also has a math connection.
The Moravian star comes with 20, 26, 32, 50, 64 and 110 points. Its symmetrical shaped is based on polyhedral, three-dimensional objects made of polygons.
The star is a brilliant invention, simple, whimsical with visually appealing geometric design
Christian Madsen was the Moravian star inventor, according to the Diary of Georg Bahson, Bahson Papers found in the Moravian archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The star was assumed to have originated from a geometry lesson dating to the 1830s at the Moravian Boys’ School in Niesky, Germany prior to the discovery of Georg Bahson’s diary, cited morovianchurcharchives.org.
Bahson, a Moravian minister wrote that Madsen may have resided in the Church Brethren’s House where he created his 110 points star in December 1820.
Madsen’s creation was featured at the Niesky boarding school 50th anniversary celebration.
The craft was later integrated into the school’s math lessons. Students create paper shapes, including pyramids that they glued together to form the stars.
Moravian homes and churches as well as neighbouring European countries caught on the star popularity triggering commercialization of the craft.
In 1899, Moravian entrepreneur Pieter Hendrik Verbeek began his star production factory. Today, the Herrnhuter Star Company continues to supply the world with their beautiful handcrafted Moravian stars.
Herrnhuter Stars are made with paper or plastic and come in different colours and sizes. They are available for purchase at mybrilliantstar.com. Alternatively, at the annual Vancouver Christmas Market.
The Moravian star is the official Christmas street decoration in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Moravians founded the city in 1766.
In Germany, gigantic Herrnhut Stars glow brilliantly over the altar of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig and on the dome of the Dresden Church of Our Lady.