Ostara is the Spring Equinox; the third festival on the Wheel of the Year. It’s a day of balance, when night and day are equal. There is a lot of debate over where the name came from but I FIRMLY believe that it has NOTHING to do with Ishtar. It’s most likely that it was named after Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon (lower germanic) goddess of the dawn. The only links between Ostara and Ishtar are that the festival of Akitu happens at the beginning of March, and if you horribly mispronounce her name (which phonetically is *ISH tar*) they *can* sound similar.
It marks the re-emergence of hibernating animals, and insects, and the return of the birds. It’s time to start planting the fields. The earth is waking up. Fresh food is becoming scarce, so the early greens are a welcome sight. It’s also a time of birth and renewal.
It also marks the return of the Goddess Kore/Persephone to the realm of the living. Now is the time for planting in many areas (check your local hardiness zone).
Some popular traditions/symbols include:
- Dyeing colorful eggs.
- Rabbits (this is generally about when they spawn their young)
- Thoroughly opening and airing out the house
- planting the fields and/or kitchen garden
- flowers of all kinds
Feasting is common at all the High Days. Some traditional foods for Ostara include leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine, flower dishes and sprouts. Small game (like rabbit) and fowl (such as duck or swan) are also traditional.
The list of Deities associated with Ostara include (but are not limited to): Goddesses: Ostara, Freya, Idunn, Persephone, Aphrodite, Saraswati, Artha, Blodeuwedd, Olwen Gods: Baldur, Osiris, Apollo, Llew