Ostara (Celtic) Celebrating Spring Equinox and Fertility

Ostara (Celtic): Celebrating Spring Equinox and Fertility

As the long, dark winter comes to an end and the first signs of spring emerge, many people around the world celebrate the coming of the new season with various rituals and festivities. In Celtic tradition, this time of year is marked by the festival of Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox and the return of fertility and growth to the land.

In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and modern-day celebrations of Ostara, including its connection to Easter and the ways in which it can be incorporated into modern pagan practice.

What is Ostara?

Ostara is a festival that celebrates the vernal (spring) equinox, which usually falls on March 20 or 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. The word “Ostara” is believed to come from the Germanic goddess Eostre, who was associated with fertility, rebirth, and the dawn. In Celtic tradition, Ostara was a time to welcome the return of spring, when the days began to grow longer and the earth began to awaken from its winter slumber.

History of Ostara

The origins of Ostara can be traced back to pre-Christian pagan traditions in Europe, particularly in Germanic and Celtic cultures. In these traditions, the equinox marked a time of transition between the darkness and light, the cold and warmth, and the death and rebirth of nature.

One of the most well-known myths associated with Ostara is the story of the maiden goddess who is rescued by the horned god from the underworld, where she had been trapped during the winter months. When she returns to the earth, the goddess brings with her the renewed energy and life of spring.

Ostara and Easter

Many people may recognize some similarities between Ostara and Easter, which is also celebrated around the same time. In fact, some historians believe that the early Christian church intentionally timed Easter to coincide with Ostara in order to make the transition to Christianity more palatable for pagan converts.

Some of the common elements between Ostara and Easter include the use of eggs and rabbits as symbols of fertility and rebirth, and the connection to the renewal of nature. However, while Easter is a Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, Ostara is a pagan celebration that honors the cycles of nature.

Celebrating Ostara Today

Today, many people continue to celebrate Ostara as a way to connect with the natural world and the cycles of the earth. Some common practices and rituals associated with Ostara include:

  • Spring Cleaning: This is a time to clear out the old and make way for the new. Many people take this opportunity to deep clean their homes, declutter, and start fresh for the new season.
  • Planting: As the earth begins to wake up from its winter slumber, it’s a great time to start planting seeds and nurturing new growth in your garden or indoor plants.
  • Egg Decorating: Decorating eggs is a popular activity during Ostara, as eggs symbolize new life and fertility. Many people dye eggs in bright colors or decorate them with natural materials like flowers and leaves.
  • Feasting: Sharing a meal with loved ones is a great way to honor the abundance and fertility of the season. Consider incorporating seasonal produce and traditional spring foods like lamb, asparagus, and strawberries into your meal.
  • Fire Rituals: Lighting a bonfire or candles can be a way to welcome the return of the sun and the light of spring.

Incorporating Ostara into Modern Pagan Practice

For those who follow modern pagan traditions like Wicca or Druidry, Ostara is an important time of year for honoring the cycles of the earth and connecting with the energies of growth and fertility. Some ways in which Ostara can be incorporated into modern pagan practice include:

  • Creating an altar: Many pagans create altars dedicated to Ostara during this time of year. This can include symbols of fertility and new life like flowers, eggs, and baby animals, as well as items that represent the balance of light and dark like candles and crystals.
  • Performing rituals: Rituals for Ostara can vary widely depending on individual practice and tradition, but common elements may include lighting candles, reciting prayers or invocations, and performing symbolic acts like planting seeds or burying the remains of the previous year’s harvest.
  • Meditating on the energy of spring: Take some time to sit quietly and meditate on the energy of spring and the new beginnings that it brings. Consider what seeds you want to plant in your own life and what you want to cultivate during this season of growth.
  • Participating in community events: Many pagan communities hold events and celebrations during Ostara. This can be a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people and to honor the spirit of the season together.


Ostara is a time to celebrate the return of spring and the energy of growth and fertility that it brings. Rooted in ancient pagan traditions, this festival has endured through the centuries and continues to be celebrated by many people today. Whether you’re a modern pagan looking to connect with the cycles of nature or simply someone who appreciates the changing seasons, Ostara is a wonderful opportunity to welcome the new beginnings of spring.


Is Ostara a pagan holiday?

Yes, Ostara is a pagan holiday that celebrates the spring equinox and the return of fertility and growth to the land.

What are some symbols of Ostara?

Common symbols of Ostara include eggs, rabbits, flowers, and baby animals, all of which represent new life and fertility.

How is Ostara different from Easter?

While both Ostara and Easter are celebrated around the same time and share some similarities, Easter is a Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, while Ostara is a pagan celebration that honors the cycles of nature.

What are some ways to celebrate Ostara?

Some ways to celebrate Ostara include spring cleaning, planting, egg decorating, feasting, and performing fire rituals.

Can people of any religion celebrate Ostara?

Yes, anyone can celebrate Ostara and connect with the energy of spring and new beginnings, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs.

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