Ostara meaning explored: Spring Equinox blessings to pagan goddess

Eve Edwards March 20, 2021
Ostara meaning explored: Spring Equinox blessings to pagan goddess
Photo by Brett Cove/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Each Spring Equinox, you may come across the saying “Happy Ostara,” but what is it’s meaning?

The Spring Equinox this year falls on Saturday 20 March 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere. It welcomes in the changing seasons and when the North Pole begins to lean toward the sun again. The day is split perfectly with twelve hours of day and twelve hours of night.

Ostara: Meaning

Ostara takes its name from the Germanic goddess of spring and dawn. She is also known as Ēostre or Eastre.

You may hear “Happy Ostara,” or “Blessed Ostara” said on the Spring Equinox. This is said to welcome in the changing seasons and give thanks to the Maiden of Spring.

Who is Ostara?

Ostara is a Pagan goddess of spring and dawn. She is said to have been “only mentioned once in scholarly writings of the period,” by Bede the monk. Bede the monk states that during Eostremonath (the old Anglo-Saxon names for April), Ostara was celebrated. Einhard in his Life of Charlemagne, would later refer to April as “Ostaramonath.”

Pagan Anglo-Saxons held festivals in her honour, typically in April, to celebrate fertility, renewal and re-birth. It was from Ostara’s legacy that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved. It is also where the hormone oestrogen’s name is derived, as an essential component of women’s fertility.

There is some debate over whether Ostara was a real pagan goddess, given that she was scarcely mentioned besides the welcoming in of spring. However, given that Bede the monk was fervently anti-pagan, it is unlikely he would have made Ostara up.

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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.