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Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Ostara: The Spring Equinox and Easter

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The hare is a symbol of spring and the spring equinox.

March 21, 2024, is the Spring Equinox, a celestial event celebrated by many pagan cultures. 

Modern-day Pagan and Wiccan practitioners refer to the day as Ostara, the vernal equinox, and the start of spring. This was when light triumphed over dark as the days lengthened and the temperatures rose. It also served as a marker for the beginning of the planting season in the Northern Hemisphere.  

The name, Ostara, comes from the goddess Eostre, the Germanic deity of dawn, fertility, and renewal. Eostre or Ostara, is only mentioned by an English Churchman named Bede and folklorist Jacob Grimm in 1835.

The Library of Congress blog points out that while many folklorists since have referenced Eostre and Ostara, “there’s no evidence of her worship except in Bede’s book.” In recent years, Christian partitioners have argued that Eostre and Ostara are only referenced in literature starting in the 19th century, so it is a holiday that originated with the Christian church. 

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One of the well-known stories of Eostre was about a fallen bird. Eostre was said to have found a wounded bird and to help cure the creature, transformed it into a rabbit but the transformation was not complete. Since the creature changed, it could no longer fly but still lay eggs. The hare began painting the eggs and leaving them in secret places for humans to find at the beginning of spring.  

The story paired well with the symbols of awakening spring. Rabbits were the first creatures seen coming out of their burrows, causing many people to think of them as messengers from the gods, calling for the start of spring. The day was celebrated with feasts, festivals, and egg hunts according to Mabon House. 

Modern-day pagan practitioners mark the day by starting a garden or walking to hunt for new spring blossoms. Many will switch out their altar or create a new one with fresh flowers and photos of loved ones. This is a day to celebrate the sunlight and the coming of spring.  

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Jia (Sophia) Buck, Culture Editor
Jia Buck is the culture editor and a reporter for Lindenlink Media. She is a freshman majoring in Communications with an emphasis on Journalism. Aside from writing, Jia loves strange historical facts, fantasy books, and anything creative. Jia spends her free time with friends or rewatching Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time.
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