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Colonial-style barn signs for good luck (1959)

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Once superstitious symbols, the colorful marks are now traditionally ornamental

When the colonists came to this land, they brought many folk beliefs and superstitions, some with roots in medieval and ancient mythology.

The “hex marks” painted on the old barns of the so-called “Pennsylvania Dutch” farmers, even on some of the modern new barns, now are merely traditionally ornamental. However, old-timers will admit that there was no idea of decoration in the early days in this land — they believed in the influence of evil spirits, and they did what they thought was necessary to keep away evil or to bring good luck, attaching occult power to omens, signs, charms.

The earliest settlers carved their “hex” signs in barn timbers. Later on, the symbols were painted in rich colors. Similar markings are found on barns in Germany, France and Switzerland.

 

Quadruple lucky stars

Four times good luck. Hex signs take various shapes, but are all geometrical.

Quadruple lucky stars

 

Good luck mark

Good luck mark was painted on barns to bring farmers rain and sun for crop abundance and fertility.

Good luck mark

 

Morning star

Morning star with rosettes and other symbolic designs to bring good luck and keep it that way through life.

Morning star

 

Also see: New Amsterdam to now: New York since the frontier days

Irish hex

Irish hex is to bring wide friendship and good luck. The green border represents money and success.

Irish hex barn sign

 

Mighty oak

Symbolic of strength in mind and body; inside border represents the eternal chain of life.

Mighty oak

 

Love and romance

This version shows heart in center for trust; trinity tulips for faith, hope and charity.

Love and romance barn sign

 

Love and romance II

Distelfink birds, hearts and trinity tulips mean two hearts blossom at the same time.

Love and romance

 

Daddy hex

A variation with rosette in center to keep away starvation, plague and all ills that beset mankind.

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Daddy hex barn sign

 

Daddy hex II

Earliest of hex signs, appeared on the back of an altar in 1453; it was devised to keep away a variety of ills.

Daddy hex

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