German paper stars are called many names, most of them based on the different regions where these stars are a common creation for celebrations such as Christmas. Some of the names include Danish star, Polish star, Froebel stars, Swedish star, origami star and even Christmas star. The best way to find instructions on the web or in the library on how to make one, however, would be to look for the star under its official or most common name, "The Moravian star."
The Moravian star originated in Germany and perhaps this is why many people refer to it as a German paper star. The practice of folding paper this way is believed to have been invented in the 1830s in one of two small towns and was originally intended to assist young boys with their geometry lessons. Shortly after, however, the star was adopted as the symbol of Christ's birth by the local Moravian church.
Buying Moravian Stars
In 1880 one Pieter Verbeek, a graduate of a Moravian school, opened a bookstore and began to sell the little paper stars. It was his son years later, however, who improved on his father's small business and turned the stars into a company all on its own. The original factory was burnt down in World War II but today the Abraham Durninger Co. still produces these little stars and carries on the tradition.
Moravian stars are made with a process called strip folding. Many other objects are made with this same technique. Strip folding is much like origami in that it is a way to create a paper sculpture without using any adhesives. Strip folding uses only folds to hold the art in place, making it that much more impressive, and sometimes that much harder.
How to Do it
To make a Moravian or German paper star you will need at least four pieces of paper, depending on how many points you would like on your star. Many people choose to dip their finished star in wax or to coat it in some other way to preserve the shape. Others add glitter or spray paint. There are plenty of free online resources for instructions on strip folding, including the making of Moravian stars.
What's it Got to Do With Christmas Trees?
Moravian stars have become associated with Christmas because of the adoption by the Moravian church. These stars were originally only meant to be shapes to represent ideas to young students, but as with all visual symbols, different folks see things differently. When the Moravian church associated these paper stars with the birth of Christ they became in turn associated with Christmas, and then the Christmas tree.
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