From Academic Kids

This article is about the solar holiday. For the 19th-century Viennese publication, see Ostara (magazine); for the neofolk band, see Ostara (band).

Ostara is one of the eight major holidays, sabbats or festivals of the Pagan and Neopagan wheel of the year. It is celebrated on the spring equinox, in the northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the southern hemisphere around September 23, depending on the Spring Equinox.

The name is derived from a goddess said to appear in German legends by Jakob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie. A similar goddess named Eostre was described by the Venerable Bede. Bede indicated that this name was used in English when the Paschal holiday was introduced. Since then this name (not the holiday) was converted to Easter, or in German Ostern. Some scholars question Bede's and Grimm's conclusions because of a lack of supporting documentation for this goddess. Others argue that a lack of further documentation is not surprising given that Bede is credited with writing the first substantial history of England (in which he described Eostre as a goddess whose worship had already passed) and Grimm was specifically attempting to capture oral traditions before they might be lost.

The holiday is a celebration of spring and growth; traditional decorations include budding boughs, flowers, and decorated eggs. It is also a celebration of the godess rejoining her love.

Among the sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane.

Antiquity of Ostara

Ostara is a modern Pagan or Neopagan festival. There is no evidence that Spring Equinox festivals were called by this name in the past.

According to Bede and Einhart, the month Eostremonat/Ostaramanoth was equated with April. This would put the start of 'Ostara's Month' after the Equinox in March. However, it must be taken into account that these 'translations' of calendar months were approximate as the old forms were predominately lunar months while the new were based on a solar year. The start of 'Eostremonat' would actually have fallen in late March and thus may still have been associated with the Spring Equinox.

See also: Bealtaine, summer solstice, Lughnasadh, autumn equinox, Samhain, winter solstice and


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