Ostara is the springtime pagan holiday celebrating equal day and night and the return of the sun. Celebrate with this uplifting springtime ritual.
Ostara is the name for the pagan festival celebrating the vernal equinox (on or around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere). The name refers to Eostre, a goddess of the dawn, who brings with her the new season of spring and the bright half of the year. The symbols of Ostara reflect those of the Christian Easter (the name of which likely also refers to Eostre) and include eggs and hares. Eggs represent possibility and new life. Hares, which commonly come out to mate around this time of year, represent fertility and abundance.
How to Celebrate Ostara
On the equinox itself, the length of day and night are balanced, but each day that follows will become longer until the summer solstice. We celebrate the return of the light and warmth of the springtime season and tend to the seeds we planted in the fall and winter, beginning to take action on our intentions and goals.
Some people think of the vernal equinox as the New Year—in fact, it is celebrated as Nowruz, a word that means “a new day,” in Iran and other places with Persian influence. Many people perform spring cleanings in advance of the two-week festival to sweep away the energy of the previous year and make space for hope and possibilities in the new year.
There are many ways to celebrate Ostara and welcome the spring. Spring cleaning is great, especially before the equinox itself. A ritual cleansing bath is also a great idea, and you could add in herbs and scents that have some meaning to you.
Here is a simple ritual you can do to celebrate Ostara on the day itself. It would be ideal to do this ritual outside at sunrise while welcoming the dawn, but you can also simply imagine the dawn rising in your mind.
Perform an Ostara Ritual
A bowl of clean water
A dry towel
A pen and paper or a journal
Sit facing the east, where the sun rises. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths, imagining a circle of protection around yourself. Invite in energies that are healing and loving, and filter out anything that is not. Take a moment to acknowledge the land you are on, your particular place in the world, the air you are breathing, the earth beneath you, and your relationship with this place.
When you are ready, open your eyes and dip your hands into the bowl of water. Gently cleanse your hands, imagining that any dirt and grime from the last year, any old energies, any unhelpful patterns, are simply sliding off your hands into the water. Dry your hands with the towel.
Light your candle, imagining it as spring fire lighting a spark in your heart. Gaze at the candle’s flame as you consider your intentions, what you have been hoping for and working toward since the winter solstice. There may be new hopes and wishes that you are considering now as well.
When you are ready, write down your goals and intentions. Then write down three concrete steps you can take to move a little closer to these goals, as well as timelines for completing these tasks. Make sure these goals are realistic and actionable—things you’ll be able to check off a list by a certain date—and give yourself enough time to do them, taking into account whatever else is going on in your life. Make a promise to yourself, the candle, and the dawn that you will take these steps toward your goals.
When this feels complete for you, thank the light, the water, the dawn, the land, the earth, yourself, and anything else that you’d like to offer gratitude to. Blow out the candle.
Enjoy watching the sunrise as long as you’d like. Put the paper somewhere you’re likely to see it often to remind you of your promises to yourself.
Ostara blessings to you!
Learn more about the spiritual meaning of Ostara.