Helping children connect with the rhythms of nature has many benefits. Celebrating festivals our ancestors marked, when peoples activities were more closely tied to nature, is an engaging way of doing this. As mentioned in the last post, 'The Wheel of the Year' is an ancient Celtic calendar based on festivals that celebrated peoples connection with nature - no religion or certain beliefs are needed to celebrate. In the events I run, I try to focus on the history/folklore elements. The calendar revolves around eight festivals - each signalling a shift in the natural world around us. This post is about how to celebrate Ostara/Spring Equinox with children. Ostara is the second of three spring festivals on the Wheel of the Year. Coming in between Imbolc and Beltane.
When is Ostara/Spring Equinox?
The Spring Equinox is generally the 19th, 20th or 21st of March. In 2023 it's the 20th. The Spring Equinox, is the date in between the Winter and Summer solstices, and is the day when the hours of daylight are equal to the hours of night time. This is a big deal- from here on until Summer Solstice, the days will keep getting longer!
Easter and Ostara
The Easter we know today is very much a celebration of spring - but mixes religious events with Pagan beliefs. Days are going longer, the temperatures are rising, the vegetation is sprouting, life is finally awakening after a long winter.
Ostara (Eostre/ Oestre) is the Germanic goddess associated with Dawn and Spring – a time of new beginnings. She was so closely associated with fertility. As she became popular with neopagans, Ostara took on more of the traits associated with Spring goddesshood in general. Ostara is seen as responsible for resurrecting the world after winter’s frozen grip has been withdrawn. She blows the warm winds of springtime over the lands. Fields and trees become green again, and flowers blossom. The egg (and all seeds) contains ‘all potential’, full of promise and new life. It symbolises the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation.
The story of Ostara
The story of Ostara includes eggs and a hare (not a bunny!)
Ostara arrives late one year and finds a bird with its wings frozen by the snow and ice. He is dying. She is able to save the bird’s life but can’t save his wings. So she turns him into a snow hare and names him Lepus.She gifts him with the ability to lay eggs in all the colours of the rainbow.
They spend their days together. But one day, Ostara gets very upset with Lepus and out of uncontrolled anger, she flings him into the sky. He becomes the constellation Lepus positioned just under Orion’s foot, the Hunter. Feeling remorseful about what she has done, she grants Lepus to come down to Earth once a year during the celebration of Ostara where he shares his rainbow coloured eggs with the world.
There are many symbols associated with Ostara:
The rabbit is definitely the main animal symbol of Ostara, as this animal played a significant role in Ostara’s myths. Rabbits symbolise fertility and life.
Flowers that bloom in the spring are perfect symbols for Ostara. This includes daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, lilacs, and many others.
Floral scents are definitely the best choice when representing Ostara, as they are reminiscent of spring and the awakening of life. Gems And Metals
Aquamarine is the gemstone of the month of March, the same month when spring begins. With its beautiful light blue colour, this gemstone perfectly represents the rejuvenation and freshness of the spring, and as such, it is a symbol of Ostara.
Blues and greens are the best colours for symbolising Ostara, as they symbolise life, rejuvenation, rebirth, vegetation, and freshness.
Eggs (and dishes made with eggs), honey, sprouted greens, asparagus
Activities to celebrate Ostara/Spring Equinox with children
There are so many! All the crafts, baking and activities you associate with easter fit perfectly here such as decorating eggs, Easter egg hunts, making Easter trees, baking Simnel Cake and making chocolate eggs and Easter nests and anything bunny related!
Some other activities that fit well with Ostara are:
Making Spring Wreaths
Making candle using egg shells
Hapa Zome - lea.flower prints on cotton material
Making your own herbal tea for foraged finds
Foraging for spring finds such as wild garlic and edible flowers.
Making bracelets with with daffodil cordage (dried stems)
Creating rejuvenating bath salts
Dying eggs using natural dyes and botanical patterns
Go on a nature walk to look for the signs of spring.
Have spring tea party
We hope you have fun exploring the Spring Equinox and Ostara. We love to see what you get up to, so please tag us on social media if our ideas inspire you at all.
Check out the following resources to support your spring celebration:
Also we have some free downloadable sheets including a Spring Spotter and a colouring in sheet.
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