Ostara ~ Celebration of Spring
Updated: Mar 13
Ostara is another name for the Spring, or Vernal, Equinox. March 20th – 21st is the time to recognize Ostara in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the day where balance is returned and light and dark are of equal length. The year is now waxing and light defeats dark – it’s time for rebirth and nature to come alive!
Rooted in the ancient Celtic and Saxon spring holidays, Ostara is one of the eight pagan holidays that make up the Wheel of the Year. The seasonal change is celebrated by those who practice Pagan, Wiccan and other Neopagan beliefs.
Many religions participate in some form of celebration this time of year, including Easter by Christians, the Holi festival of colors by Hindus, Jewish Purim, and the Sikh Hola Mohalla.
Ostara, also referred to as Eostra, is the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess who represents dawn, fertility and rebirth. She’s also known as the Spring Maiden and Horned God, and is in charge of the fertility of the Earth, budding of the plants and festivities held in nature. An important part of the Ostara tradition include images of new life: eggs, rabbits, seeds and flowers–quite similar to Easter.
Did you ever wonder why the egg is such a common image for spring celebrations? It symbolizes the rebirth of nature and the fertility of the Earth and all its creations. Many traditions actually consider the egg a representation of the whole universe.
Ostara Altar: This can include flowers and scarves of bright green, yellow and purple, potted plants, a statue or picture of a bunny or lamb, a yin/yang symbol, candles, and honey or milk.
Lighting Candles and Chanting: While you bake, plant, clean and celebrate light candles and chant meaningful words. For example: ‘Out of Earth toward the Light, New Beginnings taking Flight…’
Planting Bulbs and Seeds: This is the perfect time to plant traditional spring flowers of crocuses, tulips, daffodils and primroses in your garden. Plant a tree of birch, ash or alder in your yard.
Arts and Crafts: Spend time with family and friends decorating eggs or creating colorful art of spring flowers.
Using Incense: Select from traditional scents of African violet, jasmine, rose, lotus, magnolia, ginger or strawberry
Bake Hot Cross Buns: These resemble the Celtic Cross - the four equal-armed cross of balance within a circle. Other foods often included in festivities are hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables and honey cake.
Bury A Raw Egg: This interesting tradition calls for burying a raw egg by the front door to attract abundance for the coming year and brings fertility to your garden.
Spring Cleaning: I personally don’t enjoy cleaning, however, I do do love a clean house! Open the windows, let in the fresh air, and listen to Lisa Thiel while you go about this ritual.
Ireland: Ostara Celebration at Loughcrew Cairn T
Loughcrew is one of four Neolithic sites in Ireland - all dating all dating back to the Stone Age. The hilltop cemetery at Loughcrew covers three fairly flat summits and contains the remains of 30 passage graves constructed from 3,000BC to 2,000BC. These were used into the Iron Age.
Cairn T is aligned with the equinoxes - the interior is illuminated by a shaft of sunlight at dawn on the equinox days. Also known as Sliabh na Callighe, meaning the hill of the witch, this site is located at the northernmost point of County Meath near the village of Oldcastle.
Those who are willing to brave the wee hours of early morning can see the sun light up the ancient tomb between 6:15 am and 7:30 am.
This sounds like great fun – anything in Ireland sounds good to me! I've added it to my bucket list.
However you choose to celebrate, I wish you a happy and healthy spring!
Peace, love & creativiy, Sandra