Saturday, March 16, 2013

History of Ostara/Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox has been celebrated around the world for many, many years.  It is a time when the light and dark hours of the day are the same.  After the spring equinox, the days will grow longer, as we move towards spring and summer.

Christians celebrate Easter around the same time of the Spring Equinox.  Easter is when Christ rose from the dead, after being crucified and entombed three days earlier.  The date of this event was either unknown or at a different time of year, but in order to turn pagans away from their gods and their way of life, the Catholic Church made Christ's most important holiday at the same time as one of the pagans' important holiday.  By doing this, it was easier to get the pagans to go to Mass and easier for them to take away their religion and enforce Catholicism.

In the Jewish faith, Passover is around this time.

As a side note: Around the same time, we celebrate St. Patrick's day.  St. Patrick was a Catholic saint who was credited with driving all the snakes out of Ireland.  The "snakes" were really pagans, and by "driving them out," he meant he forcibly made the pagans convert to Catholicism.

It is speculated that the word Easter came from the Goddess Eostre, a Western Germanic spring goddess.  It is debated, though, on whether Eostre ever existed.  The word for Easter in modern German is Ostern, so I believe that there is a good chance that Eostre existed, though that is just my opinion.

Strangely enough, Celtic pagans, while they paid attention to the seasons, did not celebrate the Spring Equinox.  Cultures that did include: Romans, Ashanti, Norse, Myans, Egyptians, and Greeks.

Eggs are a common sight at Ostara, as they symbolize rebirth, for obvious reasons.  The Spring Equinox is also a fertility festival, and the rabbit symbolizes that, because of a rabbits amazing ability to reproduce in rapid numbers.

The Spring Equinox is a time for planting and starting new crops.  Today we also start planting at the Spring Equinox, and we look at it as a time as renewal, rebirth, and a time to meditate on balance in our lives.  I'll be planting my seedlings indoors, as will many other Pagans this Ostara.

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