The Spring Equinox | Celebrating Ostara

The Spring Equinox | Celebrating Ostara

Ostara is celebrated at the spring equinox, which falls between March 19-21 in the northern hemisphere, depending on the year. It represents rebirth, new beginnings, and revitalization, and it’s also the first official day of spring.

What is Ostara?

Ostara is a celebration to welcome the arrival of spring. The equinox is one of two days per year when the day and night are equal, hanging in balance for a pivotal moment before the northern hemisphere shifts into the light half of the year when the sun is out longer, the days become warm, and the flora springs back to life from the earth. Ostara is the second Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year, between Imbolc and Beltane.

Although many Wiccans and pagans plan their Ostara celebrations around the equinox, some choose to move their spring ceremonies to when they plant the garden or the first day that feels like spring, depending on the weather in their region. Since the celebration is based on the season, it isn’t necessarily tied to the calendar. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Ostara on a different day.

The Origin of Ostara

Not much is known about the earliest celebrations. The festival was mainly Germanic in honor of the Goddess of the spring and the dawn, Eostre (whose name has had many variations through the ages). The first writings about Ostara come from the Venerable Bede.

Many various religions recognize this time of rebirth and honor deities who have been resurrected, including Jesus (Christians), Mithras & Attis (Romans), Dionysus (Greeks), Osiris (Egyptians), Freya (Norse), Tammuz (Babylonians), Inanna (Sumerians), among others, including Eostre. Maiden goddesses as well as deities associated with fertility, nature, and agriculture are often worshiped during this time.

However, atheistic celebrations are also held to honor the planting and growing season, the reawakening of the Earth after a cold winter, the longer, warmer days with fair weather, and the return of life. The season may be represented with a deity, but it doesn’t have to be.

Arranging the Altar

Ostara’s predominant colors are commonly associated with springtime decorations, including robin-egg blue and pale yellow, pink, and lavender, as well as bright, grassy greens. Ostara is associated with fertility, as symbolized in seeds, eggs, and rabbits. Other symbols of Ostara include flowers, buds, grass, and the sun, especially sunrises. Any of these elements would make a great addition to the altar. Some people like to add soft, delicate touches such as lace or woven baskets.

Ostara Rituals

Decorating eggs is a great Ostara ritual, especially if you’re involving little ones. Eggs are a symbol of spring and fertility, and decorating them for the season is a long-practiced custom. Other forms of creativity, such as music, art, and writing, are welcome.

Spring cleaning may seem like a mundane chore we’re expected to do every year, but you can make it part of your Ostara celebration. Hibernation often leads to clutter, so making a mindful effort to revitalize and clean your space can have a profoundly therapeutic effect on your psyche.

Prepare the garden. This might include starting seeds (either indoors or out), tilling up the land, clearing dead leaves and plant matter from garden beds, transplanting early seedlings, etc.

Decorate your home with the symbols and colors of Ostara. Pick spring flowers and arrange them in vases to brighten up a room. Bringing spring into the home is welcome and highly encouraged.

Meditate on your aspirations. What do you hope to accomplish this year? How are you going to make those goals happen?


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Ostara Recipes

Below are a few traditional recipes to celebrate Ostara.

DEVILLED EGGS

6 eggs (preferably organic free-range)
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp chives (finely chopped)
Salt, pepper, paprika
Tabasco (optional for spice)

1. Hard boil the eggs between 9-15 minutes, depending on how large the eggs are.

2. Once the eggs have cooled, remove the shells, cut the eggs in half long-ways, and scoop the yolks out.

3. Mash the yolks with the mayo, vinegar, mustard, and chives. Salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer a little spicy kick, add a dash of tabasco.

4. Scoop or pipe the mixture back into the hardboiled egg whites and sprinkle paprika on top for color. Enjoy!

VARENEKY (DUMPLINGS)

2 c flour
1 c milk
1 egg (preferably organic free-range)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chives (finely chopped)
2 c mashed potatoes

1. Heat 3 qts water and 1 tbsp salt in a large pan.

2. Mix flour, egg, salt, milk, and vegetable oil until you have a sticky dough, then roll the dough out on a floured cutting board and cut into circles.

3. Combine the shredded cheese, chives, and mashed potatoes into a filling, then place in the centers of the dough with 1-2 tbsp of the filling per dough circle.

4. Wet the edges of the dough and fold in half, then pinch them together to seal.

5. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove, drain, and fry in butter until brown. Enjoy!

Have fun!

However you choose to celebrate Ostara, there truly is no “right way” or “wrong way.” Choose the practices that best apply to you and make them your new tradition with your own personal spin.

Do you have any special traditions you’d like to share? Please post in the comments!

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Award-winning fantasy author, freelance writer, spiritual explorer, and sole founder of Green Witch Lunar Witch. She created her first website in 2016 and published her first novel two years later. Sara spends most of her time writing, creating, and daydreaming.

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