This year Ostara will be in the middle of the week on March 20 and typically falls on either the 20th or the 21st. Ostara’s origin is thought to be from Eostre, who is a Germanic goddess of spring. This spring celebration happens around the same time of the year as Easter and Passover. For early Pagans this was a time to celebrate the planting seasons start and the fertility of the earth. There are other holidays or celebrations near the equinox with similar meanings.
During a dynasty of Persian kings called the Achaemenians, the spring equinox was celebrated with the festival of No Ruz, meaning "new day." Its a festival of hope and renewal which still observed today in many of the Persian countries. This celebration is deeply rooted in Zoroastrianism. In Iran there is a celebration called Chahar-Shanbeh Suri that takes place just before No Ruz. The people purify and clean their homes and leap over fires to welcome the 13-day celebration of No Ruz. It is only in recent times that the number 13 had a negative bearing.
The spring equinox is a time of fertility and planting, and we can see that effect in the nature around us. In many medieval societies in Europe, the hare was viewed as a fertility symbol. Their specific species of rabbit is mainly nocturnal for the majority of the year. However, in March when mating season starts, the bunnies are everywhere throughout the days. The females are superfecund and can actually conceive a second litter while pregnant with a first. The males get frustrated when they are rebuffed by their mates, and have been known to hop around erratically when discouraged. This is where the term “crazy as a March hare” comes from, and also how the bunny became associated with Easter. Eggs are also associated with this time of the year and the Eater bunny due to their affiliation with fertility.
Today, this is a good time of year to get your seedlings started. If you have an herb garden, this would be when you should start preparing the soil for late spring planting. Remember to celebrate the balance of light and dark as our days become longer, and the return of new growth has begun. Many Pagans also get new projects started at this time of the year and use the energy of the fertility season to help spring board them forward. Ostara is a time of renewal and rebirth. Take time to celebrate new life that surrounds you. Observe all of the new things getting their start around you.
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