Ostara: Spring Equinox Celebration
Ostara Pronounced: oh-star-ah
Other names for Ostara: Alban Eilir, Hilaria
When is Ostara Celebrated? Spring Equinox, March 19 – March 22
What is the History of Ostara?
Ostara celebrates the spring goddess Ôstara, also known as Ēostre. It is the day when daylight and darkness are equal, and each day moving forward will have more sunlight until the summer solstice. Ostara is a time to recognize the abundance of spring and the new life that enters the world as crops germinate and baby livestock are born.
Ostara is traditionally an ancient Celtic and Saxon spring holiday in reverence to Ēostre, the goddess who symbolizes dawn and fertility. Ēostre is a Germanic goddess with an association to hares, rabbits, birds, and eggs, and she traditionally signifies a time for feasting and celebration.
Ostara is similar to Easter celebrations where dyed and painted eggs, spring flowers, fresh bread, and sweets are enjoyed. Egg decorating and egg hunts are common practices during Ostara, as eggs are markers of fertility and health. Like most sabbats, this is a feasting holiday. Commonly served are hot cross buns, which have a cross in the middle to symbolize balance and equality. Salads made with fresh greens, and fresh bread, roasted lamb, and egg dishes are common.
Ostara: Ways to Celebrate
Dye Eggs & Collect Flowers
Create a dye or gather paints to decorate hard-boiled or wooden eggs. If you have children, prepare an egg hunt for them. In most regions, this is a time when daffodils, lilacs, tulips, and other spring flowers will be in bloom. Take a walk and harvest some, or simply collect images of them in your mind or with your camera. Use the eggs, flowers, and statues of baby animals on your spring Ostara altar. Connect the meaning of the equinox to you and add any objects or imagery that will aid you in your own personal or spiritual work.
Make an Ostara Meal
A great way to connect to the energy of the spring equinox would be to make a meal in honor of the holiday. While there are many different ‘traditional’ Ostara meals, it is best to honor your own land by preparing a meal with vegetables that are in season, and local meat if you choose to do so. In many places, this is a time to eat fresh green salads, make fresh bread, cook eggs, and share with others, if you can. During your meal, give thanks and gratitude to the land, Ēostre, and those in your life that keep you stable and balanced.
Connect to Balance
At the equinox, the light and dark is in balance, and so we can also take the time to pull from the energetics of the landscape and come into balance emotionally and spiritually. Take time to check in with your elemental energetics. Are you too fiery, too watery? Are you excessively grounded or in the clouds? What kind of walking, sitting, or writing meditation could you do to rebalance yourself?
During Imbolc, we planted seeds of intention. If we are still in line with those intentions, now is the time to begin acting on them, so we can reap the rewards of our harvest this summer. It is at this equinox that we have the chance to take the lessons we have learned in the winter, and begin taking action on them. The summer solstice is the place where we have the highest manifestation power, but now is the time to begin the process of rebirth and change. What changes will you begin to make? What will begin anew?
Ostara in the Wheel of the Year
In 2021, Ostara is on March 20th. For a list of dates for each pagan sabbat for 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025, you can order PositivelyMystic’s Pagan Wheel of the Year. This wooden wheel, pictures below, will help you track each Pagan sabbat, moon phase, and astrology season throughout the year. Because it is a moving calendar, you can use it year after year, with a list of dates to guide you. Each calendar wheel comes with a 50 page booklet with details about the wheel, and ways to celebrate each sabbat, along with a journal for tracking your own holiday traditions. You can order your calendar wheel here.