Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This article refers to the solar holiday. For the 19th-century Viennese publication, see Ostara (magazine) .
Ostara is one of the four solar holidays, sabbats or festivals of the Pagan and Neopagan wheel of the year. It is celebrated on the spring equinox, in the northern hemisphere circa around March 21 and in the southern hemisphere circa around September 23, depending on the Spring Equinox.
The name refers to an alleged Germanic goddess named Eostre; it is alleged that this name was used in English when the Paschal holiday was introduced, and this name (not the holiday) was converted to Easter, in German Ostern. However, many scholars doubt that a goddess of that name was ever venerated by the Germanic tribes, since there is one and only one speculative mention of her in any early medieval work and no mention in any ancient manuscript.
Ostara is a modern Pagan or Neopagan festival. There is no historical Spring Equinox festival of that name. The application of the name Ostara to the Spring Equinox festival is relatively recent, as is the celebration of the Equinox itself. According to Bede, the Eosturmonath (from which the name Ostara derives) was equated with April and thus had nothing to do with the Equinox, which falls in March.
It is highly likely that neopagans named their modern Spring Equinox festival Ostara in the hope of identifying it as the precursor to the Christian Easter. While there is an evident connection between Eostre and Easter, the Spring Equinox has nothing to do with it and the use of the name Ostara for the Equinox festival is wholly modern.
The holiday is a celebration of spring and growth; traditional decorations include budding boughs, flowers, and decorated eggs. It is also a celebration of the godess rejoining her love.
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