A star that towers even a person: the white star that hangs in the middle of the foyer is two and a half meters tall.
In the evening, its light not only illuminates the hall, but also the protocol courtyard.
Passers-by keep walking by, looking up, stopping for a few seconds, pausing.
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We are talking about one of the largest Moravian stars ever produced, which irradiates the Federal Chancellery in Berlin every December. In 2010 the Christmas decorations, which are supposed to symbolize the star of Bethlehem, were handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel. An identical model shines on the Berlin Cathedral, above the cathedral steps. Both are supposed to send the “Christian message of peace” into the world, says Jacqueline Schröpel, who works in the administration of the Moravian Star Manufactory in Upper Lusatia. They are the highlights of a hundred-year-old handicraft that shapes the Christmas season in Germany like no other - the Moravian Stars, which are still made by hand in Saxony.
Three hundred kilometers from Berlin, in the factory in Herrnhut, things are hectic on these days of Advent. Orders come in almost every day, from dealers, individual customers and companies. The jagged stars from the small town of Upper Lusatia are coveted.
Herrnhut is located a few kilometers from Görlitz, is one of the easternmost small towns in Germany, in the triangle between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. It's usually quiet here, but at Christmas time, when the snow is on the slopes around it, a Christmas wonderland unfolds. In the demonstration workshop, every visitor can learn the craft of folding, "starling" as it is called here. “It's Christmas all year round here,” jokes Schröpel, who comes from Upper Lusatia and started at the manufactory straight after graduating. The Herrnhuter Brothers Congregation was founded in Herrnhut and is still owned by the Sternmanufaktur today. She is also her employer.
A red, serrated table stands in the middle of the glass hall. Six women and men sit there and put together angular pyramids. Red, yellow and white stars hang on the ceiling. They are made of thin paper, plastic or cardboard shapes that hold them together. It smells like glue and paper. 150 employees work in the factory. Three dozen of them fold, roll and glue the "bags", as the pyramids are called. They produce around two thousand stars a day. That means 780,000 stars a year. They want to "grow slowly but sustainably," says Schröpel, who also reports that demand has increased from all over the world. The “Moravian Stars” are enjoying increasing popularity, especially in the United States, Japan and China. Each traditional Moravian star consists of 25 points,seventeen square and eight triangular points. Only then are the stars real and can be sold with the certificate that proves their originality. This also regulates their manufacturing process.
But how are the jagged stars made?
The Moravian Stars are three-dimensional, mathematical bodies that consist of geometric shapes.
The basis of the star figures is a so-called rhombic cuboctahedron, which forms the basic shape on which the pyramids are placed and attached.
Each star is put together by the manufactory itself.
The employees process the individual parts and raw materials to such an extent that they have the geometrically correct shapes.
Mounting brackets hold the paper and plastic molds together.
The first stars in white and red
The historical patent for this lies with the Moravian Brotherhood, a Protestant religious movement that arose through the Reformation.
Her supporters had to flee from Bohemia and found shelter in Upper Lusatia.
From the small community one of the largest Christian free churches in Germany developed.
Even then, the members were known for expressing their strict faith through hymns.
One of the songs was "Morgenstern der darkstern Nacht" by Johann Scheffler.
Some historians say that the song gave the impetus to make the stars.
Because when exactly the first poinsettia was put together in Herrnhut, not even the archivists of the brotherhood can say.Keywords: