A star is born: How a Moravian symbol became a sign of Christmas in Labrador – Newfoundland & Labrador

Linda Saunders-McLean rings the bells at the Moravian Church in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Above, a stained-glass Moravian star hangs in the window. It was a gift from an American visitor years ago. (Bailey White/CBC)

If you should happen to drive by Linda Saunders-McLean’s house in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the night, you’ll see her living room lit up by a glowing white light with 26 points.

The geometric shape is technically known as an augmented rhombicuboctahedron, but Saunders-McLean just calls it a Moravian star.

Thanks to ease of online shopping and global commerce, more Moravian stars are available in Happy Valley-Goose Bay than ever before, and Moravians and non-Moravians alike are decorating their homes with them.

Dietrich Holeiter, a member of the Happy Valley Moravian Church, holds a Christmas tree-topping star. The church sells stars of different shapes and sizes to help pay the bills. (Bailey White/CBC)

“It seems to be becoming more and more popular in the community,” said Saunders-McLean, a chapel servant at the Happy Valley Moravian Church.

“A lot of people are calling and asking for the stars.”

Stars used to be scarce

The multisided star has been associated with the Moravian faith for centuries, but only in the last 20 years or so have they been available in Labrador.

Shipping to the region has always been costly and time-consuming, but since the Trans-Labrador Highway came through in the 1990s, it’s gotten a little easier.

“Things were so difficult to get here,” Saunders-McLean said, “It just wasn’t so readily available for everybody to hang in our homes.”

What’s more, the geopolitical climate made it nearly impossible for anyone in North America to buy a star for several decades.

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