Have you ever wondered what the heck Easter bunnies, eggs, and baskets had to do with Jesus Christ rising from the dead? I know I have! In fact, learning about Ostara was my first glimpse into Paganism and the Pagan origins of many Christian holiday traditions.
As it turns out, these well-known signs of Easter have deep roots in the Pagan celebration of spring. They symbolize abundance, fertility, growth, and, yes, even immortality!
Without further ado, here’s some background on Ostara, including symbols and their meanings, and when and how to celebrate the Spring Equinox.
What is Ostara?
Ostara is a Pagan holiday and one of the eight Sabbats — or holy days. Imbolc is the last Sabbat that passed. While Imbolc marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, Ostara is the height of the spring season. However, if you’re in Maine like me, winter is still going strong! At least, it is at the time I’m writing this.
Hopefully, the ice and snow will melt by Ostara (fingers crossed), and I’ll be tapping maple trees with my husband!
Ostara represents the peak of spring energy — green plants pushing through the thawed ground, growing light, fertility, expansion, and promises of the abundance of summer.
Named for the Germanic goddess Eostre, Ostara is the Pagan festival from which many Christian Easter traditions originate. Fun fact — the female hormone estrogen is named for the goddess Eostre!
Symbols of Ostara
Because Ostara celebrates fertility and renewal, symbols usually include eggs and hares.
Eggs and seeds are powerful symbols of fertility and abundance because they contain everything needed for new life to unfold.
Ostara traditions include:
- Decorating eggs
- Coloring them with natural dyes
- Eating eggs as part of a celebratory meal
- Rolling them along the earth to transfer fertility from egg to land
You can also blow out the gooey contents of the egg, saving the shell to decorate and keep as a fertility charm or ornament.
Also known as the Easter Bunny, the hare is another powerful symbol of fertility and abundance. Both science and folklore contribute to the hare’s symbolic meaning.
Scientifically, a hare represents fertility and abundance because this hyperproductive animal can conceive while it’s already pregnant with another litter. Can you imagine?
Additionally, the hare is associated with the moon, and sacred to many goddesses, including Eostre/Ostara, Hecate, Aphrodite, and Freyja. According to folklore, both the hare and the moon died each morning and came back to life each evening. Therefore, the hare is also symbolic of immortality!
Maybe I should change my name to Luna Hare? What do you think?
Other Ostara symbols
In addition to eggs and rabbits, many symbols commonly associated with Easter stem from Ostara tradiditons, like baskets of green grass and cute baby animals (think lambs and chicks). Other symbols of Ostara include:
- Hot cross buns — with two intersecting lines of equal length within the circle of the bun representing the seasons divided by equinoxes and solstices
- Other foods — like eggs, honey, peas, fava beans, asparagus (the first veggie of spring), and sprouts
- Colors — Green for growth, abundance, and fertility, also yellow, purple, pink, and blue
- Spring flowers and plants — like daffodils, tulips, crocuses, violets, and clover
Seeds and baked goods that incorporate seeds, such as lemon poppy muffins, — a personal fave — are also excellent Ostara symbols.
When is Ostara 2022?
Ostara occurs on Sunday, March 20, 2022 — the same day as the Spring/Vernal Equinox and the Sun’s entrance into Aries. (Goodbye, Pisces season!)
On equinoxes, we experience an equal amount of light and darkness. Day and night are in perfect balance. Every day moving forward will be longer, with shorter nights until the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha.
Sabbats consist of Quarter Days (solar holidays) and Cross-Quarter Days (agricultural holidays). Ostara is a Quarter Day, which means it marks a key point in the ever-flowing cycles of the Sun and Earth (aka the Spring Equinox). In any given year, Ostara might occur between March 19-23.
How do you celebrate Ostara?
I consider myself an eclectic witch. In short, that means I don’t follow any particular tradition, or religion such as Wicca, Druidry, or Ceremonial Witchcraft.
Like many other Pagans, I blaze my own path by incorporating rituals and aspects of various others according to what resonates with my lifestyle and belief system. Basically, this blog is never going to be a place where you find rigid instructions on how to perform specific rituals or honor different holidays. The most important thing is to celebrate Sabbats in a way that’s fun and meaningful to you.
With that said, here are some ideas for Ostara rituals:
- Host a party or feast — prepare egg-based dishes and spring greens like a frittata with asparagus
- Decorate eggs with paint or natural dyes like onion skins, beets, and turmeric
- Hide boiled, decorated eggs for the kids in your life to hunt for
- Play an egg rolling game to transfer the fertile energy of the egg to your lawn or garden
- Bury a whole, uncooked egg in your garden or outside your door to promote fertility
- Use eggs and seeds in magic spells for abundance and fertility
- Take a long walk in nature, paying close attention to the signs of spring
- Create an Ostara altar with dyed eggs, seeds, feathers, spring flowers, and green foliage
- Spring clean your house and cleanse it energetically
- Bless your garden tools
- Start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse
- (Ethically and responsibly) gather fresh flowers
- Craft a crown of spring flowers
- Start a new creative project
- Make faerie wine (milk, cinnamon, and honey) to leave outside as an offering
As with all Sabbats, Ostara is a prime time for intention setting. Grab a journal and pen, light a candle, and meditate on what you want to manifest over the next several months. The seeds of intention you plant now will grow and ripen throughout the summer! If you like, you can do this while seated in front of your Ostara altar.
More Ostara resources
Did this post inspire you to learn more about Ostara, the Wheel of the Year, or Paganism in general? Awesome!
A lot of information I shared here came from this book, Paganism for Beginners*, by Althaea Sebastiani. I’ve referenced this book in other posts and included it in my list of best books on witchcraft, tarot, and astrology.
I also came across this book specifically about Ostara*. I’ve not read that one, yet, but plan to pick it up. There’s a whole series of books on Sabbats!
Last but not least, if you’re craving a stronger connection to spirituality, nature, or your higher self, but don’t know where to start, I can help. Click here to check out my empowering email tarot readings.
As always, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article.
*indicates an affiliate link. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.