Ostara, the Spring Equinox
March 21st is widely-known as the Spring Equinox, one of the two days a year where there are equal amounts of hours of daylight and nighttime. Many ancient cultures noticed this, and marked the day as a special holiday. The goddess "Eostar" was the patron of spring, and this holiday came to be known as "Ostara."
Eostar is most often seen as an older maiden or young mother figure, clothed all in white. For countries whose spring season began later, she was sometimes celebrated on the first full or new moon after the spring equinox. Bonfires were a frequent marker of the spring equinox. Jumping the fire sometimes occurred although more often this was seen during Beltane. An old German custom was to light a sun-wheel. A wooden wheel was rolled to the top of a high hill, lit on fire and then rolled down into the village and to the fields. This symbolized bringing the warmth and energy of the Sun to the fields for first spring plowing and planting.
Pagan and Christian celebrations at this time of year share common roots with themes of death and rebirth. For Christians, the observance is the Easter death and rebirth of Christ. Ancient pagans who worshiped Cybele held a ritual for Attis, her consort of virgin birth believed to die and be reborn at this time during the spring. These rites were brought to Rome about 204 B.C.E, predating Christian worship by about 250 years.
From an astrological viewpoint, this holiday marks the movement of the sun into the sign of Aries the Ram. Looking at the date from the point-of-view of an agrarian society, it's considered the beginning of spring, with flowers staring to bloom, trees budding and the weather has finally warmed enough to begin preparing for planting crops.
Information on Ostara, the history and rituals
- Witchvox Article on Ostara
(around March 21st but date may vary by more than two days ) also known as: Spring Equinox, Ostara, Alban Eiler, Esther, Eostre, Ostarun, startag', Eastre, Eoastrae, Oestre The first true day of Springtide. The days and nights are now equal in lengt
- Blessed Ostara!!
OSTARA (pronounced O-STAR-ah) is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats, and is usually celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox right around March 21 (although because of its origins, may instead be celebrated on the fixed date of March 25).
- AN OSTARA RITUAL
this is a transcript of an actual ritual that was performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 15, 1998
Natural Egg Dyeing
Eggs are a very common symbol of fertility, which is what this holiday is really honoring. Eggs and the equinoxes are linked via the folk legend that since the hours of light and dark are equal, it is possible to balance an egg on end during these magickal times. Sometimes the story specifies that the balancing would only occur during the few hours that most closely fall before and after the actual time of the equinox. In truth, this can be done most anytime of the year if one has a very steady hand and a very fresh egg.
The coloring or dyeing of eggs is much more prevalent on this holiday, and many faiths and cultures dyed eggs in spring as fertility symbols. In many Scandavian countries, a spring ritual was to make decorated
eggs. Hard-boiled eggs or shells drained of yolks were colored or
etched and then displayed. Raw or whole eggs can be used for more potent charms, but it is often recommended that these totems be buried in the garden a few days after creating them.
The Spring Equinox
See an Ostara Ritual
Ostara Rites and Rituals
For an Ostara altar, think about
Fresh flowers - early spring bloomers (crocus, hyacinth, tulips, daffodils) and pastel colors are symbolic of this time of the year.
Branches from budding and blooming trees - pussywillow, plum tree, dogwood
Symbols of spring fertility - eggs were always associated with this holiday as were rabbits, which breed plentifully
Crystals - stones that reflect the colors and shapes (eggs) of the season are appropriate, such as rose quartz, pale aquamarines and amethysts, light tourmalines and moonstones.
Incense - gentle, floral scents - lavender, jasmine
For an Ostara meal, think about
Breads that are very light in texture
Eggs, eggnog or dishes based primarily on eggs
Fresh baby greens or dandelions
Light meads or dandelion wine, or herbal teas
Seeds, beans or sprouted foods
For Ostara rituals, think about
planting spring bulbs or vegetable seeds in the garden
visiting a bontanical garden
visiting a farm
planting medicinal or cooking herbs
spring cleaning - air out the house and get rid of unneccesary things accumulated over the winter
- Candied Flowers
These flowers may be safely eaten and are suggested for this recipe: Pansy, violet, rose, nasturtium, gladiola, carnation, dianthus, calendula, squash blossom, lilac, marigold, dandelion, peach blossom, plum blossom, orange blossom, hibiscus, geraniu
- Georgia Pagan Recipes
It is time again to celebrate the Goddess Ostara, to whom hares and eggs were sacred. What better way to pay her honor than with the food we eat! Below is a recipes which lets us include Her in our daily lives.
Some Ostara Recipes
More by this Author
Samhain, celebrated on October 31st, is the night the Wheel of the Year turns back on itself, marking the start of the Pagan year. Celebrations are marked by spiral dances and dumb suppers.
Imbolc, also known as Candlemas, is the beginning of spring, with the Goddess transforming from Crone to Maiden. This holiday owes many roots to the fire festivals honoring the Irish goddess Brigit.
- EDITOR'S CHOICE1526
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