The Moravian Star

Moravian Star

The star as part of the symbolism of Christmas must be as old as the celebration of the festival itself. Since the Star of Bethlehem figures so prominently in the nativity narratives. There is nothing unique in the use of the star among Moravians. However, a particular type of star originated in Moravian crcles in Germany over one hundred years ago. This so caught the fancy of the church that it has grown to be associated with the way the Moravian denomination celebrates Christmas.

The Moravian Star is also called the Advent Star or the Herrnhut Star. The first is appropriate because the star is hung in the church beginning with the First Sunday in Advent, preceding all other decorations. Since for a long time the star was exclusively manufactured in Herrnhut, Germany, the name of that community was attached to it.

It appears that this many pointed star with internal illumination was first a product of an evening handicraft session of the Moravian Boys' School in Niesky, Germany, around 1850. Years later one of the alumni, Pieter Verbeech, began producing these stars commercially from his home. His son, Harry founded the Herrnhut Star Factory, which soon developed into a thriving business, sending stars to all parts of the world. Chief outlets were Moravian communities of the Continent, British Isles, America and the scattered mission fields.

The Moravian Star is popular both in the church and in homes. Its use has spread to hotels, stores, schools, hospitals, community displays or wherever it has become customary to decorate for the Christmas season. Today, perhaps more non-Moravians are displaying this beautiful star at Christmas than there are Moravians themselves.