The last cold front has pushed through. Your microwave’s clock is an hour “behind.” Restaurants across the city boast buckets of crawfish. That’s right: it’s springtime in Houston.
The spring equinox brings equal amounts of day and night, representing the balance of the earth and rebirth after winter’s chill. And while we may not see tiny buds poking up through the latest snowfall in our part of the world, we’ll watch new leaves and fresh wildflowers dot the landscape.
Thoughts of the timeless cycle of nature lead us to celebrate Ostara, the first abundance and fertility holiday on the pagan Wheel of the Year. It began as a festival celebrating Eostre, the goddess of the dawn (from a root word meaning “morning”) in old Germanic paganism.
Customs surrounding the start of spring began in antiquity, and many of them survive today - in more ways that one. The language connection between Eostre and Easter is clear, but modern people may be confused about how rabbits and eggs factor in. The reason is simple: fertility. The hare is sacred to the Goddess, and has an ability to reproduce quickly and abundantly. Eggs are an almost universal symbol of fertility, and in some cultures they represent good luck and purity as well.
Celebrating Ostara can become an important springtime tradition, but it can be as simple or complex as you like.
Other world cultures also have celebrations dedicated to this important point on the Wheel. Marked by rituals recognizing family ties, rebirth, and new beginnings, as well as “spring cleaning” of home, hearth, and spirit, they are unique in origin, but carry a common significance to Ostara.
Nowruz is the Persian New Year, celebrated in Iran and across broad regions of Asia and Eastern Europe, as well as by international immigrants. Originating in the Zoroastrian religion, it is celebrated by some religious groups as a holy day, more broadly as a secular festival. Traditions and feasts vary across locations.
Shunbun no Hi (Vernal Equinox Day), a traditional Japanese festival stemming from Shinto, is the non-religious successor to Shun-ki koreisai. Long observed as a time to visit loved ones' grave sites and pay homage to the ancestors, it now has much in common with other spring festivals.
Whatever you choose to celebrate, remember to dive deep into the joy of rebirth and abundance! (And don't forget that Easter candy works for Ostara too.)
Susan (aka the Dragonfly Charmer) is an Indigo Moons staff member and an intuitive reader with over 25 years of experience. She also teaches Tarot classes at the shop; her next Tarot Essentials class is coming March 29. If you’re interested in online Tarot learning, check out her new Patreon, Dragonfly Academy. Visit her Linktree for all the other places you can find her.
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