Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs


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Mural by Bearface Design

Proverbs: 

1. “Faith is the bird that sings at night.”

2. “Every mother crow thinks her own little crow is the blackest.”

3.“Forbidden fruit creates many jams”

4.”We grow too soon old and too late smart”

5. “Children and fools tell the truth.”

6. “It wonders me.”

Hex signs haven’t anything to do with witchcraft, Satanic ritual or anything evil just as the Pennsylvania Dutch aren’t Dutch, but a Germanic people. OK. There is the high Dutch (German) and low Dutch (Dutch) – in the 18 – 19th Century, the English referred to anyone from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as Dutch – but, that’s not what we’re discussing here today.

Hex signs are works of art created to ward off storms, floods, pests and other farming hazards and mishaps, and are meant to bring blessings to the farmers and their communities and the people within them. The signs offered protection (against evil spirits), prosperity and even fertility to the newly-wed, if the Bride were lucky enough to have been gifted a hex sign to hang on her new home, or barn at her Bridal Shower.

The signs can be seen throughout parts of the United States (Pennsylvania, being the most obvious) and areas of Canada, such as Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario.

Irish_hex_sign

 

“One of the most popular hex symbols is Dutch Irish. It features a large, green shamrock, the traditional good luck sign of the Irish, as the design’s center or heart. 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.” – Amish Country News

 

Not one –  but two! – corduroy roads have been recently discovered in Ontario, Canada during the construction of Light Rail Transit (LRT) system on King Street in Uptown Waterloo  near Conestoga Mall – the irony! A lead archaelogist claims the road dates back two centuries and is likely one of the first ever roads built by Euro-Canadian settlers in the region – being our Pennsylvania Dutch friends! “King Street has been an economic thoroughfare for 200 years” – read the article.

In addition to the hex sign, a farmer would often include a “Fire-Letter” – an incantation, hand-printed or copied, which would then be nailed to a rafter in the barn. The incantation written in English, or German that would banish the spirit of fire read: “I command you, Fire, in the power of God, to lay down your flames!

 

– altered by Hystoria

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