It's almost time for Oestara (also known as Ostara and the Spring Equinox)! It's on Wednesday 20th March this year.
Note: For those in the Southern Hemisphere it will soon be Madron/Mabon aka the Autumn Equinox! You might like these posts:
Madron/Autumn Equinox Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Madron/Autumn: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/09/celebrating-madron-autumn.html
In 2017 I did a post with ideas for celebrating Oestara and then last year I wrote one on celebrating both Oestara and spring in general. Read them at the links below:
Oestara/Spring Equinox Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/03/oestaraspring-equinox-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Oestara + Spring: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/celebrating-oestara-spring.html
This year I thought I'd share some more ideas for celebrating and general inspiration for this time of year. :)
Oestara (more commonly called Ostara) is the 2nd spring festival on the Wheel of the Year. The first is Imbolg/Imbolc which was last month) and the 3rd is Beltane at the the beginning of May. While Imbolg celebrates the start of spring (the first stirrings), Oestara is about the official start of spring. It takes place around 21st March every year in the Northern Hemipshere (in the Southern it's around 21st September) and is also known as the Spring, Vernal or March Equinox, which is when the days and nights are fairly equal, although not completely.
Since Yule/the Winter Solstice in December, the days have gradually been getting longer and the nights shorter. After Oestara this will continue to happen until Litha/the Summer Solstice in June, which is the longest day and shortest night. After that it will start to reverse, with shorter days and longer nights, until Yule comes round again!
Oestara is thought to be the precursor to Easter and they are around the same time. Easter is later this year, Easter Sunday is 21st April compared to 1st April last year.
Here are some links with celebration ideas:
Seed blessing ritual: https://www.thetetraktys.com/2019/ostara-seed-blessing-ritual/
Post about spirit work for Ostara: http://www.flyingthehedge.com/2019/03/spirit-work-for-ostara.html
Spring colour magic ideas: https://otherworldlyoracle.com/spring-color-magic/
Ways to celebrate with kids: https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrating-ostara-with-kids-2562468
Also Vegan Kichen Magick has a good post about getting ready for Oestara: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/getting-ready-for-ostara/
Ostara Affirmations: https://tesswhitehurst.com/ostara-affirmations-for-rebirth-and-renewal/
Update 20/3/19: Adding an extra link:
More ways to celebrate:
Bake/make food- I like to celebrate with food or drink for all the sabbats since I was originally inspired by Kate West's book The Real Witches' Kitchen, and enjoy baking. I usually make cakes or biscuits for Oestara and put Cadbury Mini Eggs on top! Last year I baked a white chocolate Malteser cake which was quite nice.
This year I'm planning on making a Malteser slice which is similar to Birdies Perch, one of my favourite things to "no-bake" (since it doesn't require baking!). I'll decorate it with Mini Eggs. I wasn't feeling particulary inspired at, first but I searched through for my Pinterest boards Recipes I've Made and Recipes To Make for ideas. It's a no-bake traybake or fridge cake. In 2016 I made fridge cakes for both Oestara and Easter since my oven was broken at the time! This year I just fancied making a Malteser slice. I first made it last year; it was called Malteser Fridge Squares and the recipe was on the Red Nose Day site. (I did a slightly different version; can't remember exactly what I changed but will have written it down!). Unfortunately the page is now gone but you can find the same (or similar recipe here): https://www.redonline.co.uk/food/recipes/a500554/eric-lanlard-s-malteser-squares/
Note: The recipe mentions crushed biscuits but doesn't list them in the ingredients, or tell you how many to use. When I make the Birdies Perch Malteser slice I use 225g/8oz digestive biscuits and bash them in a bag with a rolling pin, as per the recipe instructions. I need to work out how many biscuits to use with this one compared to the other ingredients.
And go here for more fridge cake recipes: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/easiest-ever-fridge-cake-recipes
Hot cross buns are also traditional around Easter time. Here's a recipe if you'd like to have a go making some: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/hotcrossbuns_397
You could also do some savoury recipes such as lamb, devilled eggs and potato salad. In the book The Kitchen Witch by Soraya there's a recipe for potato salad with chives or mint which I might make. I like to have potato salad based on her Samhain recipe (I use chives instead of rosemary), so it would good to make it for Oestara instead. Find more Oestara recipes at the links below:
Devilled eggs: https://www.schoolofmagicalliving.com/ostara-easter-recipe-deviled-eggs/
Dye eggs- I wrote abut this last year but the original article by Lisa Marie Grantham is gone, so here are a couple of other posts that tell you how to do it:
I first did this for Oestara 2015 and again for Oestara and Easter last year. It worked better for Easter, you can see that post here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/04/easter-2018.html
Look out for blossom trees- In 2017's Imbolg Celebration Ideas post one of the suggestions was to "look out for signs of spring" and in 2018's post Celebrating Oestara and Spring, I wrote about enjoying the signs of spring. Daffodils tend to come out in the UK in February and March (the previous couple of years I've noticed some in January as well) but I'm only just starting to see a couple of blossom trees now as well. March to May is more of the blossom season, so I'm looking forward to seeing all the beautiful trees. :) There's a hawthorn tree in my road that blooms during May and June and it looks lovely. Here's an article about the best places to see blossom in the UK: https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/countryside/g235/where-to-see-blossom-uk/
Hope you liked the post and it gave you some ideas for celebrating Oestara! :) I'm also planning to go for a walk on or around Oestara, to the park or my local nature reserve and take some sunset pics, something I like to do for sabbats.
It's feeling more like spring now. The weather has been weird lately though, as I mentioned in my post about preparing for spring, we had a really warm February. Then we returned to more typical temperatures, e.g. 8C (47F), compared to 16C (60F). We had Storm Freya in early March and now Storm Gareth and Hannah. There has been snow in some parts of the UK but in Sussex we've just had strong winds and rain. Very different to last year when we had more snow than usual! But the amosphere is lightening up now with sunset getting later, I can feel the season shifting.
I'll do a post about Oestara next week and will also do my March update, since I'm doing monthly updates. (Wasn't sure which one to do first, but think I'll do the Oestara post). Happy Oestara/Spring Equinox! (Or Happy Madron/Autumn Equinox depending what you're celebrating). :)
For more spring inspiration check out this post, Preparing for Spring + Spring Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/preparing-for-spring-spring-inspiration.html
Photo: Daffodils in Buckingham Park. Moonsparkle 2019.