The Ostara is a pagan festival, celebrated on the spring equinox because this is the period of fertility and the rebirth of the earth.
Ostara is named after the German goddess Eostre, which is traditionally held in April months to celebrate birth, renewal, and rebirth. In the northern hemisphere, it occurs between March 19 and March 22.
For the early pagans in the Germanic countries, this was the time to celebrate the sowing and new crop season.
Normally, the Celtics do not celebrate the festival as a holiday, although they adapt to the changing seasons.
Perhaps the most misunderstood holiday of the New Pagan Wheel of the Year is Ostara.
Many heretics will be surprised to find that popular ideas about their history are based on 19th century speculation and strict examination of the evidence.
Many people believe that Ostara is a tribute to Eostra (as the goddess Eostra symbolizing dawn and fertility) and is the spring holiday of the ancient Celts and Saxons.
In Germanic language, the root of Eostre is “Eastern”, which is in the same direction as the rising sun.
What is the Spring Equinox?
The spring equinox officially called the vernal equinox, marks the beginning of spring as measured by the astronomical movement.
The date is slightly different, but it usually occurs on or around March 20 in the northern hemisphere, and around September 22 in the southern hemisphere.
On the day of the spring equinox, we have equal parts of day and night.
What is the Significance of Spring Equinox?
The equinox is celebrated in different ways around the world. In Iran, India, and Turkey, the spring equinox is also the time to celebrate the New Year.
While Mexico welcomes the return of the Sun Serpent, passing Chichén Itzá.
In Japan, spring equinox means spending time with your family and visiting your family. Some even go to the cemetery to visit the graves of their loved ones.
What is the Origin and History of Ostara?
The history of modern Ostara is a tough one as its roots can be traced back to the distant primitive Indo-European period.
Its practice was influenced by Christian Easter, Jacob Grimm, and the Neo-Pagan movement in the mid-20th century.
As per the references drawn from various sources, it is stated that at the ruins of Chichen Itza, the ancient Maya city in Mexico, crowds gather on the spring equinox to watch the afternoon sun creating shadows.
These shadows resemble a snake moving along the stairs of the 79-foot-tall Pyramid of Kukulkan, also called El Castillo.
On the spring equinox, the snake descends the pyramid until it merges with a large, serpent head sculpture at the base of the structure.
While the Maya were skilled astronomers, it’s unknown whether they specifically designed the pyramid to align with the equinox and create this visual effect.
For Wiccans and other Pagans, Ostara is the day when the goddess, the Mother Earth, and the Sun God joined in sacred marriage.
Also, at this time, the goddess is still in the virgin stage, with full fertility, growth ability, and willingness to regenerate.
It is one of the eight new pagan Sabbaths that make up the “Wheel of the Year”, which includes Yule, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, Samhain, Litha, and Mabon.
In ancient Persia, the spring equinox was celebrated with a 13-day festival of Nowruz, which means “new day”.
The Wiccan and other modern pagan groups follow and celebrate burial and spring equinox each year, which is a spiritually beneficial practice.
These celebrations are celebrated according to changes in nature and seasons.
What is the Symbolism of Ostara?
It was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved, and indeed the naming of the estrogen hormone that is essential for female fertility.
Eostre’s head and shoulders are like a hare. These are the following symbolism related to Ostara.
The goddess most closely related to the hare is Eostre or Ostara. The date of Christian Easter is determined by the moon phase.
The nocturnal hare is closely related to the moon that died every morning and resurrected every night, and also represents the natural rebirth of spring.
Both the moon and the hare are thought to die every day for rebirth-therefore, the hare is a symbol of eternal life.
This is also the main symbol of a hare being able to conceive during pregnancy and the main symbol of fertility and abundance. Over the centuries, the symbol of the Ostara hare has become the Easter Bunny.
On Easter morning, the day of Christian Rebirth and Resurrection, the Easter Bunny brings eggs to children.
Hare hunting is taboo, but because the date of Easter is determined by the Moon and the powerful Hare Association of Hares.
It is a common Easter activity in the United Kingdom.
Eggs contain “all potential”, full of hope and new life. It symbolizes the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the earth, and all creation.
In many traditions, eggs are a symbol of the entire universe. “Cosmic” eggs contain a balance between male and female in yolk and egg white, bright and dark.
The golden sphere of the egg yolk represents the sun god surrounded by the white goddess and has a perfect balance.
Therefore, in the case of short balance, Ostara and Spring Equinox are particularly suitable, although their internal energy is one of growth and signifies expansion.
Once upon a time, the animal kingdom gathered together and was very lively. There will be a very special party and a very special guest will visit them.
Very special guests are just the goddess herself, every creature wants to give her a special gift.
Now, some animals are very rich and some are very poor, but they leave to prepare gifts because they can only do their best to prepare for the goddess.
The hare hurried home to see what he could find for the goddess-he looked around, under the cupboard and the bed.
But there was nothing, even if the storage room was empty, he had nothing for her.
Except for one thing. There is an egg on the shelf in the storage room. That’s it. That was the only thing he left.
The hare gently removed the eggs from the storage room and carefully decorated them, and then brought them to the party.
The hare is very worried, all other animals have given those gifts of gold, silver, and precious jewelry, and the hare only has eggs.
In the end, all the gifts were given, and the hare was the last gift.
The hare gave eggs to the goddess very shyly. She took it, looked at him, and saw the true spirit of the hare.
Then the goddess there appointed Hare as her very special animal-because Hare has given up everything he had.
What is the Legend of the Mithras?
The story of the Roman god Mithras is similar to the story of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
Mithras was born on the winter solstice and was resurrected in the spring. He helped his followers ascend into the realm of light after death.
According to a legend, Mithras, popular in the Roman army, was ordered to sacrifice a white cow by the sun.
He reluctantly obeyed, but when his knife entered the body, a miracle happened. The bull turned into the moon, and Mithras’ cloak became the night sky.
Wherever the blood of the bull ran, the flowers began to grow, and the stems of grains sprouted from the tail.
How is the Spring Equinox Celebrated across the World?
In ancient Rome, Cybele’s followers believed that their goddess had a virgin-born spouse.
His name was Attis and he died and resurrected every year during the vernal equinox of the Julian calendar (March 22 to March 25).
It has been ten years since the Central American Native Mayans celebrated the vernal equinox.
When the sun falls on the vernal equinox on the Mexican Ceremonial Pyramid, the elongated shadows seem to flow down from the top of the pyramid’s northern staircase to the bottom, giving a snake that looks like a diamond descendant Illusion.
According to the Venerable Bede, Eostre is the Saxon version of the German goddess Ostara.
Her feast was held on the full moon after the vernal equinox-almost the same calculation as Western Christian Easter.
There is very little evidence to prove this, but a popular legend is that Eostre found an injured bird at the end of winter. To save her life, she turned it into a hare.
But this transformation is not complete. This bird looks like a hare but retains the ability to lay eggs. The hare will decorate these eggs and give it to Eostre as a gift.
What are the traditions and practices related to the festival?
During Ostara, participants will participate in separate and public ceremonies, including egg competitions, beating eggs, painting eggs, and eating eggs.
Role-plays with a man and a woman, as gods and goddesses of spring, show courtship rituals that represent planting seeds.
Like the holidays of other new pagans, observe Ostara by setting up an altar symbolizing spiritual revival.
The altar is usually decorated with spring colors such as yellow forsythia, lilac, and green leaves.
Besides, you can also place the goddess statue, the opposite color of the candle, and the sun and moon.
Many altars also have statues of cows, sheep, and rabbits, as well as rich egg baskets representing birth and spring.
In addition to the altar decoration, the separate ritual also includes casting a circle with three candles (yellow, green, and purple), a bowl of milk, honey, or sugar.
Green candles symbolize the flowers of the earth during spring, purple candles symbolize the divine power of life, and yellow candles symbolize the sun.
Every pagan holiday like Ostara is full of traditional and modern cuisine to celebrate spring, including hot cross buns or cross buns that represent the earth, air, fire, and water.
In other pagan traditions, cross buns depict the direction as east, west, north, and south, while others view it as the four phases of the moon as darkness, wax, fullness, and fading moon.
Also, each quadrant represents the seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn.
Modern Celebrations and Culture
This is a good time to start seedlings in a year. If you are planting an herb garden, start preparing the soil for sowing in late spring.
As the sun begins to tilt towards the balance, celebrating the balance of light and darkness, new growth returns are coming.
Many modern pagans view Ostara as an era of revival and rebirth. Take some time to celebrate the new life in nature-walk in the park, lie on the grass, and hike in the forest.
While doing this, please observe all the new things around you-plants, flowers, insects, and birds. Meditate on the changing wheel of the year and celebrate the changing seasons.
Ostara is about re-birth and new begins and it’s the perfect time to start planning your future goals as it is the most fertile time of the year.
Use this opportunity to focus on what you want to achieve in the months ahead and figure out how to make your dreams a reality.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Who is the goddess Ostara?
Ostara, otherwise known as Ēostre, is the Germanic goddess of spring and dawn. On the old Germanic calendar, the equivalent month to April was called “Ōstarmānod” – or Easter-month. The evidence for it as an actual goddess of people is doubtful.
What is Spring Equinox?
Known as Alban Eilir, meaning Light of the Earth, to modern Druid traditions, this holiday is the second of three spring celebrations (the midpoint between Imbolc and Beltane), during which light and darkness are again in balance, with a light on the rise.
Is Ostara a Wiccan holiday?
Ostara is one of the eight sabbats (Wiccan holidays) on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It’s one of the four minor sabbats which fall on the equinoxes and solstices. It is the zenith of springtime and we’re well on our way to summer.
What religion celebrates spring equinox?
Today, Pagans continue to celebrate the coming of spring. They attribute the changes that are going on in the world to an increase in the powers of their God and Goddess (the personifications of the great force that is at work in the world).
What do you eat on Ostara?
Boiled eggs, deviled eggs, egg salad, omelets, quiche, and other egg dishes are all ideal for Ostara. Seeds stand for the planting season and the greening world. Flower seeds, such as sunflower seeds or poppy seeds, are especially appropriate.