A spring in your step for Ostara

Spring is in the air! Congratulations to the new mother of my acquaintance who, after many years of trying to conceive, has just given birth to healthy twin baby boys, Max and Toby. Welcome to the world, guys. 


MAIN-Spring-Equinox

In the Celtic calendar, 20-21st March is the festival of Ostara; the Spring Equinox. It is a time of new beginnings, of birth and rebirth, and plentiful supplies of chocolate eggs. Yummy.

The Celtic Wheel of the Year features heavily in my children’s series, Equinox, as the quarter-points of the year (the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes; the Summer and Winter Solstices) are traditionally the points at which the barriers between the Fae and human worlds are at their thinnest.

But Ostara was also the basis for the Christian festival for Easter, making it a far more popular festival than its Autumn counterpart, Mabon. The good news is: that means lots of food and frolics to line up for the Bank Holiday weekend…


WHAT IS OSTARA?


Ostara is the Vernal Equinox, usually celebrated around the 21st March (although this year it was technically 20th March). ‘Equinox’ means ‘equal night’, so it’s the time of the year when day and night share the same amount of sky.

It is also the Pagan (Anglo-Saxon origin) holiday of the spring and fertility goddess Eostre, who has ties with the Celtic spring goddess, The Maiden. At this point in the year, the Maiden takes part in a sacred marriage to the Sun God, and conceives – the action that will later transform her in to the Mother – and continues the circle of life.

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In this way, fertility and the more arable acts of sewing crops for later harvest are symbolised. It is the beginning of a new year cycle by farming standards and it is easy to see why. At this time in the country, you start to see little woolly blessings popping up in fields; it’s lambing season. For similar reasons, the oval (never-ending, continuous symbol of fertility) egg and the ever-randy March hare are symbols and creatures sacred to Eostre and the Maiden.

This festival provides a nice and incredibly suitable backdrop for the modern-day Christian celebration of Easter, which celebrates the re-birth (or resurrection) of Jesus.


OSTARA FOOD (& DRINK)


My favourite part of any festival is the food. I’m a shameless snack-lover; this weekend saw me celebrate my friend’s birthday by mainly hanging out at the buffet table. In my neck of the woods, the Easter Bank Holiday is a time to gather together as a family and stuff ourselves silly (come to think of it, that’s how most of our bank holidays go…). Here are a few tasty highlights for this time of year:


HOT CROSS BUNS

As well as being an Easter tradition (because of the cross), Hot Cross Buns are a symbol of the circle of the year, the circle of life and of the quarter-points themselves. A hot cross bun is a circle divided into quarters – that’s two Equinoxes and two Solstices. A perfectly tasty symbol of this time of year, no matter what you’re celebrating.

The link above is to the recipe I use for my family (I make currant ones and chocolate chip ones thanks to a few fussy relatives).

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BUNNY BUTT BISCUITS

Because why not? Easy, fun and tasty.

LAMB ROAST

Well, okay. Perhaps lambing season isn’t the best time to suggest killing and eating said baby animals… but they sure are nice to eat. So if your conscience is clear, enjoy this amazing recipe.

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Sheep-Easter-Cupcakes

SHEEP CUPCAKES

For those of you who your lambs alive and in the field, this is a nice, vegetarian alternative!


FUN AND FROLICS


 

Egg-shaped candles on table

EASTER EGG CANDLES (CENTREPIECE)

157ac67868898bf059ef727024b82ebbHERB-STENCILLED EASTER EGGS

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EASTER EGG HUNT!

 

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