The Atlantic had a great article about the star that has become a symbol of Norway.
Today the selburose is an emblem of winter, and Christmas, and most of all Norway. But Norwegians didn’t invent it so much as they popularized the pattern. Precursors arose in the ancient Fertile Crescent and evolved over centuries throughout Europe. Then Norway made the symbol fashionable and helped it spread, thanks largely to accidents of industrialism and nationalism—and the clever persistence of the people in the small town for which it is named.
Selbuvotter, the Norwegian name for the mittens, comes from the town of Selbu, in the middle of Norway. It sits next to Lake Selbu, its namesake, in a mountain valley, relatively isolated from the rest of the country. Like most Norwegians, the valley’s inhabitants were traditionally farmers and forest managers. From the 15th century on, Selbu was famous for millstone production, but in the mid–19th century, that quickly changed.