The Spring Equinox & The Origins of Ostara
This year we officially usher in spring on the 20th of March. In Wiccan tradition, this day is celebrated as the festival of Ostara.
Also called Eastre by the Saxons, this moving festival marks the spring equinox, when light and dark are in perfect balance. The celebration is named after the German/Norse goddess Ostara, a fertility goddess who has long been worshiped as the goddess of spring and sunrise. Her name is derived from words for dawn, or the shining light from the East. The female hormone estrogen is also derived from her Saxon name, Eastre. Traditionally, her symbols include the flowers of spring, representing resurrection and renewal, the white rabbit, representing reproduction, and eggs, representing fertility. To honor the goddess, one tradition holds that eggs would be hardboiled and dyed using local plants or vegetables. The people would then practice standing the eggs on their ends, a feat that, when accomplished, represented equilibrium or perfect balance.
Equinox celebrations are still prevalent in many cultures throughout the world. Interweaving beautifully with the Christian tradition of Easter, a holiday which takes its roots from the earlier pagan practices, Ostara reminds us of the hope for new life, abundance, and renewal that comes with each new spring.
Whatever traditions you celebrate, and however you choose to celebrate them, may your season be filled with love and light!