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Ostara marks the vernal equinox, a moment of perfect equilibrium when night and day are equal in length. A time of masculine and feminine balance, when the fertility of the land is celebrated and the coming of spring observed.
From this moment the world is awakening, the days become longer and the ground beneath us becomes warmer. This is a period of renewal and rebirth when plants resurface and buds appear on trees. Ostara is a reminder to plant seeds in all areas of your life, sowing what you wish to bloom in the seasons to come.
Ostara is named after the German diety Eostre, the goddess of spring and dawn. Originally celebrated in April with festivals of fertility, it was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of easter evolved. As a result both Ostara and easter, share some of the same symbols.
The hare is a sacred animal often associated with the moon. Like the moon, the lunar hare was believed to die daily only to be reborn again, a symbol of resurrection and immortality. It is also a symbol of fertility, sensuality, and abundance. The goddess most associated with the hare is Eostre and as we all know she too represents fertility and the birth of spring.
The egg is a promise of new life and future potential, a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Many traditions see the egg as a representation of the whole universe. Since the cosmic egg represents balance, just like the night of ostara, it is a perfect symbol for this celebration.
How to celebrate?
There are numerous ways that you can celebrate this time of year, from social gatherings to planting seeds. Below you will find some of our favorite ways to acknowledge ostara and the beginning of spring.
Prepare and decorate an altar
Begin by finding a space for your altar, since this is to celebrate the birth of spring and death of winter, a light area would be preferable. If you are planning on using an altar cloth again a light but quiet color, such as white or linen is ideal. Once you have the base of your altar ready, you can begin layering the items that speak to you. Below you will find a printable list of decoration ideas (click on the picture to print).
Remember wherever you set up your altar, and however, you choose to decorate it, have fun. Your altar is personal to you and with the beginning of spring, it should encourage a light, joyfulness within you. This is a time for you to bloom and create, just as the new season is doing.
Make an ostara tree
If this is something you want to make, then you should begin by making some ostara eggs. In order to do this, you will need a handful of blown eggs, or if you prefer to not use animal byproducts paper mache, or wooden eggs. You can then either paint the eggs using acrylic paints in any style you wish or decorate them using natural dyes.
Making natural dyes
- Combine 1 litre of water with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in a saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil and add your dye ingredients (see the list below for colour choice). Lower the heat and let simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
- Once boiled, allow the water to cool, before straining out any leftover fruit / vegetables.
- Add your eggs to the strained dye and leave them to soak for a minimum of 60 minutes. When your eggs achieve the desired color, remove them with tongs and pat dry with paper towels. For more intense colours, you may wish to leave your eggs in the dye overnight.
Add 1ltr of mashed-up red beets to the instructions above.
Add 1ltr of yellow onion skins and carrots to the instructions above (the eggs will need to soak in the dye overnight).
Add 4tbsp of turmeric to the instructions above.
Add 200g mashed-up spinach leaves to the instructions above.
Add 1ltr of mashed-up blueberries and raw red cabbage to the instructions above.
Either add mashed-up blackberries to the instructions above or drop your eggshell into a cup of neat red wine and remove it when it is the color you desire.
You can achieve a pale pink by using the same processes for red and purple but not soaking the eggs for as long.
Once all of your eggs are painted or dyed, you can attach string or ribbon to them ready to hang them from your tree.
Choosing your trees branches
You may collect any branches you like to make your tree, however, there is a certain tree that is more closely associated to ostara than any other. The birch tree is one of the first to bud and is believed to signify new beginnings and rebirth. Plus, festivities and celebrations of the goddess Eostre included dancing around and through birch trees between ostara and beltane. So you may wish to use a few birch branches as the basis of your tree.
Assembling your tree
To begin you will need a deep vase, next arrange your branches so that you are happy with the look of them. You can then carefully hang your decorated eggs from the branches. If you want to you can also add other decorations to your tree, such as ribbons and greenery.
Hold an ostara feast
Gather a group of friends and family together for a celebration feast. Begin by decorating your table with all things ostara, eggs, hares or bunnies, daffodils, hyacinths etc (see the above altar list for more ideas). And serve traditional ostara foods such as sprouted salads, eggs, ostara bread, hot cross buns and honey.
Plant some seeds
Since ostara celebrates reawakening and rebirth, planting seeds towards a future vegetable or herb garden is a harmonious practice. Although it is always wonderful to get outside, if the area you live in is still susceptible to frost or you have no outdoor space simply plant them in a pot on your windowsill.
Take a walk in nature
Take a walk whether on your own or in a group and observe the ever changing beauty of the world around you. Note the blossoming of plants and trees, animal activity and the return of many different species of bird. Breathe in the fresh sweet air of spring, and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face. Furthermore, collect items such as feathers and leaves for your altar or table decorations. If you are feeling adventurous, you could make a journey stick (for more information on how to make one of these, see our autumn blog).
Make an ostara flower crown
To make a simple flower crown you will need your flowers of choice and some string. Begin by laying three flowers out with the stems all facing the same way and their heads one beneath another, then twine string around their stems. Continue adding a flower beneath the flower above and wrap with string until you have created a circle to fit on the crown of your head. Once the circle is complete, finish by joining the last stems beneath the first flowers using your string.
Finally, what better way to celebrate the coming of spring than with a good old spring clean! Purge items that no longer have a use or bring you joy. Simplify your surroundings, less clutter means more time to spend on things you enjoy. Purify the energy in your home with a smoke or sound cleansing ritual. Dust out the cobwebs and throw the windows open let the fresh scents of spring penetrate your home.
Pop a fresh vase of spring flowers where you can savour them and remember this is a time for fresh starts and rebirth, so if there’s something you want to change in your life now could be the perfect time to make that adjustment.
If you are looking for crystals for ostara, click here. For more information, hints, and tips take a look at our blog. For information on future festivities, nip on over to our litha blog post. And please remember to tag us @surrender_to_happiness on Instagram with all your ostara celebration photographs. We love to see you enjoying our ever-changing world.