Yellow six-pointed star as Christmas decoration?
December 19, 2022 1:50 PM   Subscribe

In this performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, the stage is decorated with yellow six-pointed stars: youtube @57:24. Please convince me that this is not some antisemitic dog whistle. Sometimes a star is just a star, right??

I would be happy to know I'm reading too much into this.
Btw, I just learned that Bachstiftung (the organization that put on the concert) is Swiss, not German, if that makes a difference.
posted by mpark to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're reading too much into this.
posted by praemunire at 2:09 PM on December 19, 2022 [11 favorites]

They're just Christmas Stars. They're scattered around the whole room to add a christmassy feel. If they were 5 pointed stars would you think they were sending secret anti pagan messages? If this is a dogwhistle it's too high for any dog I know to hear and I live deep in the heart of dogwhistle USA surrounded by people that think everything is a coded secret message.
posted by wwax at 2:11 PM on December 19, 2022 [11 favorites]

In my experience, when six-pointed stars pop up in Christmas decorations, it usually has more to do with them being easier to cut/make than five-pointed stars than with any secret meaning.

I don't blame you for wondering, though. Not with [everything].
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:13 PM on December 19, 2022 [15 favorites]

I've got a book about Symbols Signs & Signets. Under the Church and Religion chapter, there is a page of various symbols, some stars. The solid 6-point star is designated as the Six Pointed Star of Creation; sometimes it has an outline. The Star of David is a Six point star (also called Solomon's Seal) but it's two interlocking triangles, not solid. I do understand that these two were not differentiated when used to denote Jews by the Nazis, they just went with yellow 6-point stars. I doubt there is any underlying meaning in the video, they just went with "get some decorations".
posted by winesong at 2:16 PM on December 19, 2022 [6 favorites]

I bought a candle arch in Germany in 2019 with a jolly Santa holding a six-pointed star aloft. It had a circular hole in it, not interlocking triangles, but still! The first time I saw it, my eyes bugged out of my head, but then I saw many decorations with the star motif. This was at official Christmas markets with certified German-made craftspeople. Antisemitic symbols are banned in Germany, so I'm pretty confident it isn't a dogwhistle. The star of David is itself a relatively recent invention (last thousand years ish), and I think in this case stars in general are associated with the holiday and a star is just a star. Don't get me started on the bumper sticker I saw yesterday for SUBHUMANS, which is apparently an anti-racist UK punk band that has the "SS" lightning symbol as the first and last letters of its logo. I had to do some research to convince myself it was not a Nazi insignia.
posted by wnissen at 2:28 PM on December 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

First, we all absolutely need to vigilant about this stuff, and dog whistling anti-Semites are definitely a thing, so good for you for keeping an eye out.

You're kinda damned with stars, though. Six points and you're an anti-Semite, five and you're a Satanist, seven and you're Australian.

FWIW kids still make six pointed origami stars at Christmas.

I'd say this was more "What do you mean we don't have any gold or silver paint?" and less "You know what goes great together?" Something for them to think about next year, though.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 2:32 PM on December 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

I vote for Technically OK, Symbolically thoughtless and sloppy. Doubtful it's a dogwhistle, just because it would seem so !@#$-ing LOUD and therefore out of character. Though the Bach was written and sung in German, the performance took place in "the protestant church Trogen in Switzerland", an unlikely venue for so obvious an antisemitic message, even if subliminal. I vote for inadvertent thoughtless sloppiness.
HOWEVER, these times are certainly making us vigilant, and with good reason.
posted by Citizen Cane Juice at 2:35 PM on December 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

I think they're, like, leftover decorations from the church Christmas pageant. The six-pointed star is pretty common in folk Christmas decor of the German-speaking world - check out all these many, many decorations with six-pointed stars from a shop called "The German Christmas Shop," e.g.

Yellow paper is cheaper than gold. Six-pointed stars are easier to cut out.
posted by mskyle at 2:54 PM on December 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing everyone here, if my Jew-ish opinion carries weight. Looks like typical holiday decor in Europe.

Germans, with the exception of AfD and similar ilk, are VERY VERY SENSITIVE about their country's Nazi past and in some cases literally stumble over themselves to atone.

Thank you for your keen eye and caring.
posted by OhHaieThere at 3:27 PM on December 19, 2022 [7 favorites]

I've looked at the video, and it would never have occurred to me that it was intended as an antisemitic message.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 5:35 PM on December 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I agree that this is not anti-Semitic. It might even be an attempt at inclusivity, since six-pointed stars aren't specific to Christmas and they've avoided the green and red Christmas colors. If you search Google image for Hanukah decorations, you'll see a lot of six-pointed stars. (Yes, I know Hanukah is a minor Jewish holiday and not "Jewish Christmas," but many well-meaning non-Jewish people will bring it in to try to be inclusive.)
posted by FencingGal at 6:41 AM on December 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all! I am relieved to be able to continue enjoying Bachstiftung videos and I'm sorry for potentially besmirching their reputation.
posted by mpark at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

"You're kinda damned with stars, though. Six points and you're an anti-Semite."

Just an important clarification here....the six-pointed Star of David is a Jewish symbol. Using a six-pointed star does not suggest anti-Semitism - it suggests Judaism. Yes, the Nazis used the star to label Jews, but that doesn't mean the symbol itself is bad, just their use of it.
posted by equipoise at 9:43 PM on December 25, 2022

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