21st March or 21st September in the southern hemisphere.
Ostara is the festival of the Spring Equinox, a solar festival marking the equal point between the length of day and night. On this day, the sun rises due east and sets due west. By Ostara, life is returning to the land in noticeable ways, and thus nature demonstrates the festival’s associations with revival and the ascendancy of light. Ostara is a joyful and optimistic celebration of conception, regeneration and the triumph of light over darkness, of new life bursting forth and the beginning of the light half of the year.
The festival is named after the Germanic goddess of spring and fertility, Ostara, her Anglo-Saxon equivalent is Eostre, from whose name Easter derives. Also known as Eostre, she is a lunar Goddess, Goddess of the dawn, and her symbols include the egg and the hare, both of which are obvious fertility symbols. Though it has been said that she was sometimes depicted with a hare’s head, no authentic animal-headed deities appear in Germanic or Celtic cult objects.
The egg represents the Cosmic Egg of Creation and the hare is symbolic of the moon (it used to be thought that an image of a hare could be seen in the full moon). Eostre’s festival was held on the first full moon on or next after the vernal equinox, so this fertility goddess lends her festival, her symbols and her name to the Christian celebration of the Resurrection.
Ostara is a time of balance and this is an ideal opportunity to reflect on how our male and female energies balance within us, what plans we have for the future at this time of growth and fertility and how we can develop ourselves.
Just as Ostara is a time to sow the seed that will be harvested later in the year, it is also a time to act on new ideas and begin new ventures that will grow as the year proceeds. Ostara is a time for renewal, when we should reaffirm our commitment to those things that are important to us and revitalize our journey towards our goals.
Alternate Names: Eostre’s Day, Celtic ‘Bird Festival’
Druidic Name: Alban Eilir or Alban Eiler (Light of the Earth)
Check out the Ostara ritual, delicious food recipes and incense blends!