Ostara is observed next on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024 (286 days from today).
What is Ostara? Often considered the origin of the Christian Easter, Ostara is the festival of the Spring Equinox, a time to celebrate the moment between the darkest winter and the climax of summer. There is a new way to see Ostara - the video game Assassin's Creed: Valhalla gave players a way to celebrate the festival with their virtual Viking settlement. How can the Vikings and Anglo Saxons imagine that in the future we will celebrate this festival in a digital realm? Even as centuries go by, it's amazing how we can connect with our past in new ways. So take this opportunity to pull back the temporary curtain and discover the origins of this festival, in the pre-chocolate and digital media era!
A perfect balance on the journey through the Wheel of the Year. Night and day are of equal length and in perfect balance - dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, balanced. But this year is wax and at this time light defeats darkness. The natural world is coming to life, the Sun is energized and growing longer and warmer. Imbolc's softly whispered promise was fulfilled at Ostara. It's time for Imbolc's hopes to turn into action. Energy is expanded and transcendent. It's the first day of spring! Ostara gets its name from the German goddess, Eostre/Ostara. Traditionally, Ostara is celebrated in April with celebrations of fertility, renewal and rebirth. From Eostre, the Christian Easter has become more and more developed, and named for the hormone Estrogen, which is essential for female fertility. The goddess Ostara has the shoulders and head of a hare.
Ostara's date, like many astrological events, likes to spoil our efforts to pin it to our Gregorian calendar, so it changes from year to year. Ostara is lied between Imbolc and Beltane, and is also the second spring festival during a year. As the equinox, Ostara brings night and day into precise equilibrium - that is, the day when the hours of sunlight perfectly match the hours of moonlight, before the days get longer as we enter summer.
Like Samhain, Ostara is the time between winter and summer. However, while Samhain history recommended to death and something out of the veil, Ostara insteadly celebrates rebirth and life. For the Wiccans, this is believed to be the day when the goddess (Mother Earth) grew up and joined the Sun god in a sacred marriage. It was a time when the goddess was in her maiden stage, transitioning from the innocence of childhood to adult passion, with the potential for reproduction and growth, as well as the readiness to be reborn. This goes back to the pagan mythology surrounding the festival, like the Celtic myth of Ceridwen and Herne the Hunter, or the Greek Persephone returning from the Underworld to bring life back into the world.
Ostara celebrates fertility and readiness to flourish, and can be seen all around us in the colors of flowers and flowers, so the practice of celebrating this time in nature is to observe the effects of motion of the astrological union of the sun and the earth.
The Symbols of Ostara
According to the tradition of Celtic, the hare, a symbol of the moon and the Goddess are the totem of moon goddesses. The goddess most closely associated with Hare is Eostre, or Ostara. The Christian date of Easter is determined by the phase of the moon. Rabbits are nocturnal, associated with the moon, die every morning and come back to life every evening. It is a symbol of the rebirth of nature in spring. Both the moon and the hare are said to die daily to be reborn - hence the Hare as a symbol of immortality. Because of the pregnant ability of the hare, it is considered as a major symbol of fertility and abundance. Rabbit hunting is taboo but since the date of Easter is determined by the Moon along with the powerful lunar associations of Hare, hare hunting is a popular Easter activity in the UK (and also in Beltane).
Eggs and all nuts contain potential for new life. It symbolizes the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all things. In traditions, the egg is a symbol for the whole universe. The 'universe' egg has a balance between male and female, light and dark, in egg yolk and white. The golden sphere of the yolk represents the Sun God surrounded by the White Goddess, the perfect balance, so it is especially suitable for Ostara and the Spring Equinox when all is in balance for a moment, despite the energy. Basis is one of growth and expansion.
The Hot Cross Bun
If you're bored with Hot Cross Bun, this dish can refresh your taste buds. Think of it as a Celtic cross, four equally armed crosses of balance in a circle. You have two equinoxes assigned by the two elements, the four seasons, the four sacred directions North, East, South, and West, and the five elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water with God in the Center. The circumference represents the cycle of the year, the circle of life, with the equilibrium point at its center. (Blessedly taken from Glennie Kindred's book 'Sacred Celebrations').
According to some myths, Eostre/Ostara has connected with snake or dragon. At this time of year, solid energy or Kundalini is bursting positively!
Rituals and traditions
We're sure to find supermarkets brimming with commercial goodies around Easter, from eggs, fluffy chickens and bunnies to fake flowers and chocolate. In traditional German cultures, it is customary to bring fresh flowers into the home, using the petals to mark a sacred circle and even filling an ordinary vessel with spring water was common. Images of hares and even painted eggs will be displayed in honor of the Goddess of Fertility. At present, Ostara is celebrated via rituals and spells that focus on balance and fertility by modern pagans and magic users. These can be reinforced with the presence of a full moon - which this year occurs on March 28, just two days before the equinox itself!
And of course, there are many folk customs surrounding the egg. Full of promise and new life, the egg symbolizes the fertility of the Earth and all creation. Yolk represents the sun god, and the white goddess Eostre, perfectly balanced with growth potential. It is also known that if you bury and lay eggs at the entrance of your home, your garden will be blessed with fertility for the whole year. Alternatively, you can blow eggs, then paint the seashells with symbols representing your wishes before stringing them on a string and hanging them in your home or giving them away as amulets.
Spring Celebrations around the World
In ancient Rome, Cybele believer thought that their goddess had a consort. His name was Attis, and he died and resurrected every year during the alternating period of the Julian calendar (March 22 to March 25).
A dynasty of Persian kings are known as the Achaemenians that celebrated the spring equinox with the festival of No Ruz, which means "new day". This is a celebration of hope and renewal in many Persian countries, and has its origin from Zoroastrianism. In Iran, a festival known as Chahar-Shanbeh Suri takes place just before No Ruz begins, and people clean their houses and dance on bonfires to welcome the 13th anniversary of No Ruz.
The indigenous Mayans of Central America have celebrated the vernal equinox for ten centuries. As the sun sets on the equinox on the great ceremonial pyramid, El Castillo, Mexico, its "west side ... is bathed in late afternoon sunlight. Long shadows seem to run from the top of the bridge north ladder of the pyramid at the bottom, giving the illusion of a snake with a diamond back." This has been called the "Return of the Sun Serpent" since ancient times.
This is a good time of year to start planting seedlings. If you plant an herb garden, start preparing the soil for planting in late spring. Celebrate the balance of light and shadow as the sun begins to show its scales and new growth is about to return.
Many modern Pagans choose Ostara as a time of renewal and rebirth. Take some time to celebrate the new life that surrounds you in nature – walk in the park, lie on the grass, and hike through the woods. As you do so, observe all the new things beginning around you - trees, flowers, insects, birds. Meditate on the ever-moving Wheel of the Year and celebrate the changing seasons.
You will need:
- 3 cups strong white flour
- 500 mls buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 3 teaspoons ground almonds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 beaten egg for glaze
- Sprinkle with soft brown sugar
Puree the almonds and flour together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk/lemon juice and golden syrup. Now for the mixture - mix together with a wooden spoon or with your hands - to your liking. As you do, think about the emerging life we celebrate at this time and add in the hopes, ideas, and wishes you have for the coming year. Repeat three times:
'Out of the Earth towards the light, new beginnings begin flight...'
Turn the dough onto a lightly coated table and roll into a circle. Use a sharp knife to lightly cut the bread in half to represent the Equinox. Beat the omelette and sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake in medium oven for about 20-25 minutes. When you share this bread with friends or family, you can invite them to add their wishes to the loaf before it is shared by everyone. The brightest blessings, Debs.
Bake a Cake
Vernal Equinox Cake
Spring tide is rising
Rotating life cycle
Explosive energy that makes magic fly
Reincarnation is learning.
Spring and moon magic and frenzied March rabbits, mating and combining, spawning and hatching and all the energy is there. This cake is the richness of spring, of the equinox from the rich darkness of winter. It is a type of egg cake, put in a white tall tin like flowers in spring and the light reflected from the moon. It should preferably be simply decorated with a light white icing decorated with primrose and ranunculus petals.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon cream tartar
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 12 oz - bread sugar - 375gms
- Smidgen less than 1/4 pint - boiling water - 125ml
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- A little salt
- 8 oz - sifted flour - 450gms
- Few drops of vanilla essence
- Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
Grease and line an 8-inch DEEP cake tin and, importantly, preheat the oven to gas line two, 300F/150C.
Start beating egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff, then set aside.
In a cauldron or large bowl, beat egg yolks and cold water for at least five minutes.
Think and talk about all the things the spring and the Vernal Equinox means to you, gradually whisking in the sugar and then boiling water, your yolks will become whiter and whiter.
Now, add the salt, baking powder and flour, beat well, add the lemon and vanilla and stir well and slowly until the egg whites can be lightly kneaded and turn the mixture directly into a box.
Bake the cake for an hour and a half; do not peek for at least 45 minutes.
This cake is coated with high tin so it is very light and white, bringing the breath of the fresh air of spring.
Trees of Ostara
Since Birch was one of the first trees to produce leaves, it was the obvious choice to represent the arrival of spring. The gods associated with Birch are mostly goddesses of love and fertility. Eostre/Ostara, the Celts goddess of spring was celebrated in festivals and danced around and over the birch tree between the Spring Equinox and Beltane. In the Ogham Alphabet, Birch appears from December 24 to January 20. Birch twigs are traditionally used to make brooms (a freshly swept broom). It heralds a new beginning, beginning and birth.
In the Ogham Alphabet, Ash rules from February 18 to March 17. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil, the world tree, is an Ash. Odin hanged it to gain enlightenment and the secret of the runes. Odin's spear was made from this branch. It is one of the three trees sacred to medicines (Ash, Oak and Thorn). The Cosmic Tree, Yggdrasil is the Ash that links the human world to the spiritual and mythological realms, and imparts an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. Two springs flow from its source, the source of Wisdom and of Destiny. Ash teaches that all life is interconnected on all levels of existence - past, present and future, spiritual, mental and physical. Whatever happens on one level, happens on all levels. Your thoughts and actions and whatever you do in the physical world will affect all levels of who you are.
In the Ogham Alphabet, Alder rules from March 18 to April 14. At this time of the spring equinox, Alder is flourishing on the riverbanks, rooted in water, bridging and keeping the mystical space between heaven and earth, keeping the space between the worlds. It was sacred to Bran, who laid himself down for his people to use as a bridge over the sea.
ObservedOstara has been observed the first day of Spring.
Sunday, March 20th, 2022
Monday, March 20th, 2023
Wednesday, March 20th, 2024
Thursday, March 20th, 2025
Friday, March 20th, 2026