Orginal Herrnhuter Sterne

The history of the Herrnhut Star

The tradition of families sitting togehter assembling the star and hanging them out on the first Sunday in advent has a long history and is closely linked to the history of the Moravian Church (a Protestant Freechurch).


Herrnhut was founded at the beginning of the C18th by the forefathers of the Moravian Church who were forced to the flee homeland in Bohemia and Moravia. Thanks to the shelter of Count Zinzendorf, they founded a new settlement in the Oberlausitz region where they could work and make a home. The name Herrnhut means under the Lord´s protection. This new town was the birthplace of the new "Herrnhuter Brüderunität", commonly known today outside of Germany as the Moravian Church, a place from which missionaries where sent out all over the world. Whilst their parents dedicated themselves to mission work in many corners of the world, the children received a very good education in the Moravian boarding schools. This gave the children greater opportunities for later life.


It all began with a simple maths class

So the first stars were made in the homerooms of the Moravian boarding schools. At the beginning of the 1900s a teacher made a star of paper and cardboard and hang it up with a candle inside. Later on making stars was established in the math class and helped the development of mathematical and geomatrical understanding, and the desinging and creation of three dimensional geometrical shapes.




Together the pupils assembled the stars at the beginning of the Advent season and decorated their school common rooms with them. These reflective hours together were both happy times for the boarders and helpful in easing the burden of seperation from their families in the time leading up to Christmas. When they, in turn, had their own families, the continued this tradition themselves, as a form of remembering their childhood. As it was frequently the case amongst the Moravian, the former boarders often went on to dedicate themselves to mission work in various nations, thus spreading the tradition of making stars throughout the world. So the tradition has conserved until today - to spend the first Sunday in Advent togehter with the family making and hanging up a star in celebration of the beginning of Advent.


last update: 24.01.2012



More information about Herrnhut and the Moravian Church

  • Museum of local history

        Comeniusstraße 6

        02747 Herrnhut


        Tel.:  +49 (0)35873 30733


        Tue - Fri: 9am - 5pm

        Sat / Sun / holiday:

        10-12am / 1-5pm           

  • Ethnology museum

        Goethestraße 1

        02747 Herrnhut


        Tel.: +49 (0)35873 2403


        Due - Fri: 9am - 5pm

        Sat / Sun / holiday

        9-12 am / 1.30-5 pm

  • Moravian Church Exib.



        02747 Herrnhut


        Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm


Öffnet einen externen Link in einem neuen


Öffnet einen externen Link in einem neuen