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 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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