This weekend marks the celebration of the vernal (spring) equinox and the astronomical beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. The actual equinox occurred Mar. 19 at 11:30 p.m. CT (4:30 UTC).
Many Pagans, Heathens, Polytheists celebrate the day as Ostara, Lady Day, Shubun-sai, or simply the spring equinox. Within their own varied and diverse traditions, they find ways to honor or recognize the coming of warmer weather and renewed growth, as winter makes its slow departure.
And, it is the autumnal equinox for our friends in the southern hemisphere.
Other similar festivals and holidays celebrated at this time include Holi or the Hindu festival of color, Higan in Japan, Nowruz or New Year on the Persian calendar, the Christian Easter and Jewish Passover, and others.
Here are some quotes celebrating the seasonal holiday….
“Perhaps the most misunderstood holiday of the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year is Ostara. Many Pagans would be surprised to learn that the popular notions of its history and imagery are based upon Nineteenth Century conjecture and the scantest of historical evidence. This shouldn’t matter in terms of actual spiritual practice; just because something isn’t historical doesn’t preclude it from being the basis for meaningful spirituality. But understanding the development of the holiday should matter, if only to dispel commonly-held misconceptions about its’ history.” – D.C. McBride, “A Brief History of Ostara”
“The Spring Equinox is a time for people to reflect on personal growth and purpose. This is a time to remove something from your life, or call something to you. Everything is growing, everything is blooming, so it’s a time to see what we can grow in our own lives.” – Melissa Foster, as quoted in the Shreveport Times “The Spring Equinox gives local pagans a chance at rebirth”
“By seeking to walk in balance with the earth, we acknowledge her rhythms and cycles as sacred and our relationship with her must be sacred too. Try to honour the earth and tread lightly, considering your environmental impact as an integral part of your spiritual practice. Let the beauty of the spring fill you with inspiration and vitality, reflect upon the joy you see in every opening flower, every green leaf glittering with rain, share in Her endless love of creation and remember that we each are a part of that great beauty.” – Danu Forest “The Magic of Spring Equinox.”
“The days grow longer—now day and night are in perfect balance. I understand why eggs are such a part of this holiday—not just that they symbolize new life, but now with the longer days the chickens are laying abundantly. I have eggs for breakfast with the deep golden yolks that only come from chickens who scratch in real dirt and eat real bugs. Fertility is all around us. Baby lambs and baby goats frolic in the grass, and it all looks like an animated Easter card!” – Starhawk, “Equinox Blessings!”
“The Spring Equinox – called Ostara by many neopagans – is not a major holiday for me but it is one I celebrate. In my form of witchcraft we acknowledge the equinoxes as balancing points which come right before the major shifts from light to dark or dark to light. In the case of the spring equinox it falls just before Bealtaine which is the start of the light half of the year. Even though it is one of the lesser holidays it is still important, and it has its place in the proper cycle of things.” – Morgan Daimler, “The Spring Equinox – Moving Towards the Light“