Spring Equinox/Ostara (21st/22nd March)

Also known as the Vernal Equinox this is the second of the four sky points in the Pagan Wheel of the year. This festival marks the start of the lighter half of the year, nature awakens and spring begins, the sun is in ascendance with the dark time of the day shortening.

Twice a year the length of the day and night are equal these are the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.  Throughout history these turning points in the seasons have been marked by festivals for certain gods such as the Greek Aphrodite, Egyptian Hathor and Scandinavian Ostara. The word Equinox originally meant sun galloping day as the sun appears to move the fastest on these days, hence the same root as Equine meaning horse like.

Celtic Pagans traditionally celebrate the start of Spring and the forces of nature are personified often as the Green man (or horned god) and mother earth. This also represents the birth/death/ rebirth cycle with the Green man born in the depths of winter and dying at Samhain. For the Saxons it was the time of the Goddess Eostre who symbolised fertility. Her sacred animal was the hare and the ancient Saxons believed that hares laid eggs due to their tendency to use old bird nests as scrapes(hares do not make warrens like rabbits) in fields. Hence the idea of the Easter bunny bringing us eggs which has been adopted into Christian festivals. Eostre is also the root of the word for the female hormone oestrogen.

The celebrations often take the form of a man and a woman acting out the roles of the two main gods with mock courtship, seed planting, egg races, egg hunts, and egg eating. In some areas in England it is traditional to drink Dandelion and Burdock cordials to help cleanse the blood after the hardship of winter.

For some Pagans it is a time of positive energy and a good time for spring cleaning and removing any remaining negative energies left over from winter.