Hex Signs

  • The Pennsylvania Dutch:

    Hex Signs


    More Information:

    Design Your Own Hex Sign
    Symbols found in Hex signs and what they mean.

    The Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival

    Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Tour Association


    The decoration of barns is a very late development in the Pennsylvania German folk art. Prior to the 1830's, the cost of paint meant that most barns were left unpainted. As paint became affordable, the Pennsylvania Germans began to decorate their barns much like they decorated items in their homes. Barn decorating reached its peak in the early twentieth century, at which time there were many artists who specialized in barn decorating. Drawn from a large repertoire of folk designs, barn painters combined many elements in their decorations. The geometric patterns of quilts can easily be seen in the patterns of many hex signs. Hearts and tulips seen on barns are commonly found on elaborately lettered and decorated birth, baptism and marriage certificates.  (this information was found on the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs Tour Association webpage)




    From: Amish Country News

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    One of the more familiar geometric hex signs is the 8 Pointed Star. It features a large, eight-pointed star usually blue in color.  The stars and sheaves of wheat symbolize abundance and goodwill. The tulips provide faith and trust in mankind. Overall, this design ensures abundance in our lives and goodwill to all. 


    Another of the classic hex signs is Home Wilkum. This design is often seen on porches and other entry ways. The large stylized Pennsylvania Dutch greeting, "Wilkum," extends a warm and friendly welcome to all. Facing Distelfink birds provide a generous measure of happiness and good fortune for all. A "lucky" star and greenery add luck and bountiful life, respectively. Overall, this design welcomes others to your home. 


    The hex sign called Maple Leaf features five large maple leaves in colorful earth tones radiating from the design center. The colorful leaves symbolize the diversity and beauty of life here on earth. An eight-petal rosette in the design center, offering good luck, completes the design. Overall, the Maple Leaf design means appreciation of life’s beauty; sweetness and purity of life is another accepted meaning. 


    The somewhat unusual hex sign is called Tree of Life. It features a large stylized tree lush with God’s bountiful fruit.  The rosette offers good luck; the eight-pointed star offers abundance; the hearts ensure love and romance; the tulips shower life with faith, hope, and charity; and the rain sign ensures harmony with nature. An "endless" outer circle symbolizes everlasting life. The Tree of Life design offers a "happy life and joyful memories" for all.


    The hex sign Willkommen features a large "welcome greeting" (in German) to one and all. The large, red heart is centrally placed to proclaim a loving heart and home. Tulips, grouped in couples, symbolize the importance of family and friends play in a happy life.  A distelfink bird watches over the home with an added measure of good luck and happiness. Overall, this design conveys a happy home and many friends. Personalized, one example shown, it makes a welcome gift for family and friends.


    One of the most popular hex symobls is Dutch Irish.  It features a large, green shamrock, the traditional good luck sign of the Irish, as the design's center or hearts.  A pair of Irish Distelfink birds shower the shamrock with a "double measure" of happiness and good fortune.  Trinity tulips add faith, hope, and charity; the decorative heart is overflowing with love for all.  This design proclaims good luck of the Irish.


    A well known geometric hex design is Sun, Rain and Fertility, featuring a large, eight-pointed star with a stylized "sun" center.  Overall, this design offers abundance in field, barn and home.