People around the world celebrate today as the coming of spring. Wiccans and Pagans celebrate the arrival of Spring Equinox with Ostara.
While many have been enthusiastically looking forward to today as the Spring or Vernal Equinox (the first day of the spring season where the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving northward), how we mark it differs according to our individual traditions and religious beliefs.
While the Spring Equinox ushers in the Easter period for the Christians, when the rebirth of Jesus Christ is celebrated and Baha’is and Persians celebrate Nowruz, the Wiccans and Pagans on the other hand get busy celebrating the Ostara.
One celebration, different names…
The word Ostara is just one of the names applied to the celebration of the spring equinox on March 21. It is said to have its origin from Eostre, a Germanic goddess of spring.
According to Germanic myth, Eostre is a goddess associated with flowers and springtime, and her name gives us the word “Easter,” as well as the name of Ostara itself.
For early Pagans in the Germanic countries, Ostara was the new crop season, a time to celebrate planting. Typically, the Celtic peoples did not celebrate Ostara as a holiday, although they were in tune with the changing of the seasons.
— Selena Fox (@Selena_Fox) March 20, 2015
There are many different ways in which the Wiccans and Pagans celebrate the period. While the mode of celebration differs by location and tradition, typically, it is observed as a time to mark the coming of Spring and the fertility of the land. The festivity is always marked with a series of activities that closely follow each other. It usually starts with the decoration of homes with a number of easy craft projects to get the family in the mood of the celebration, as well as keep the kids entertained.
Some of the Ostara crafts include making a miniature Ostara greenhouse, a spring weather station, or a spring snake wreath. They also include egg crafting such as making naturally colored Ostara eggs, tie-dyed Ostara eggs or magic crystal Ostara eggs. Some more popular Ostara crafting include making Ostara trees for altars, and decorating seed packet greeting cards to send to loved ones.
The once-a-year season is then marked with some sacred ritual activities.
Most of them involve meditating and chanting age-long mantras before a well-decorated Ostara altar that has been designed with vibrant colors and objects to capture the essence of the Spring season. You can check out this photo gallery to see what different Ostara altars looks like. Some of these rituals include the rebirthing ritual (which is better off performed in a group), the Labyrinth meditation, the Earth meditation, and the lesser banishing ritual of the chocolate rabbit that is primary fashioned for kids.
— Astarte Moon (@Astarte__Moon) March 17, 2015
People then take out time to entertain themselves with some spring magic display. Some popular magic tricks performed during this period are serpent magic and folklore, egg magic and folklore, magical spring flowers, rabbit magic & mad march hares and magical gardening.
The celebration is never complete without food and feasting. Foods dominantly consumed during the festivity are those that honor the coming of spring. Some of these include eggs, early spring greens, shoots and sprouts, and of course, the all-important Marshmallow Peep.
Happy Ostara everyone! A bright & blessed spring equinox to all of us up here in the northern hemisphere!
All in all, just as it is with every other festivity, Ostara is a joyous period that brings family together to have fun and strengthen the ties that bound them together.