Oestara (more commonly known as Ostara) is coming up and that means spring is almost (officially) here! It is on Friday 20th March this year (at least in UK time, by US time zones it will be Thursday the 19th).
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
Madron Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/09/madron-inspiration.html
For the past few years I've written celebration posts for Oestara and spring. You can 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
Oestara Celebration Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/oestara-celebration-inspiration.html
This year I'm going to write about celebration ideas and inspiration for both Oestara and spring. :)
Oestara is also known as the Spring Equinox and is the astronomical start of spring, whereas 1st March is the meteorological beginning. The date varies every year, but is usually around 21st March. In 2020 it's a bit earlier falling on 20th March by UK/European time zones, but on the 19th in US time zones, the earliest it's been for a century. (This is for the Northern Hemisphere, in the Southern Hemisphere it takes place in September).
The Spring Equinox (also called Vernal and March Equinox) is the time when the hours of daylight and darkness become more balanced. They have gradually been growing longer since Yule/the Winter Solstice in December (the shortest day), but we've still been having quite short days on the Spring Equinox the light and dark balances out (although not completely) and then the daylight significantly increases until Litha/the Summer Solstice in June, the longest day. And then it will start to reverse.
Oestara is the 2nd spring festival on the Wheel of the Year, following Imbolg/Imbolc in early February and preceding Beltane at the the beginning of May. It is thought to be a pagan precursor to the Christian festival Easter. While Imbolg is a "transitional" sabbat moving from winter to spring, Oestara is the official start of spring.
Note: Some of the links below are from previous years, so they don't have the date for Oestara 2020.
Here is some info about Oestara/the Spring Equinox and celebration ideas:
https://www.witchywords.com/2020/02/spring-equinox-ostara-march-19th-2020.html (Now a private blog)
Spring/Ostara rituals: https://lunalifted.com/blogs/goddess-guide/tap-into-the-energy-of-spring-ostara-rituals
5 ways to celebrate: https://www.siobhanjohnson.com/5-ways-to-celebrate-ostara/
10 ways to celebrate: https://www.mumblesandthings.com/blog/2017/3/13/10-ways-to-celebrate-ostara-the-spring-equinox
And 12 more ways to celebrate!: https://hollyrose.eco/2017/03/10-ways-to-embrace-spring-equinox.html
4 Lessons to Move Through the Spring Equinox: https://www.adventuringwithposeidon.com/blog/4lessons-spring-equinox
I especially like No. Seven in the Holly Rose Eco post (12 more ways to celebrate! link), which is about finding your rhythm in the new season and Twelve. Make a blessing. And I also like the part about connecting to the light in the 4 Lessons to Move Through the Spring Equinox post on Adventuring Poseidon.
And since one of the themes of Oestara/the Spring Equinox is "balance" here are a couple more posts from Adventuring with Poseideon on that subject:
BALANCE- Change & Being Resistant Towards It: https://www.adventuringwithposeidon.com/blog/balance-change-resistant
BALANCE- Creating Boundaries: https://www.adventuringwithposeidon.com/blog/balance-creating-boundaries
Ideas for celebrating with your family/kids:
Also here is a free guided meditation for the Spring Equinox that I'm planning to try:
Update 19/3/20: A Might-do List for Ostara: http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/a-might-do-list-for-ostara
Now I had to share some baking "inspo" because I normally make food and drink for the sabbats and enjoy baking! I wrote a bit about baking in last year's inspiration post which you can see here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/oestara-celebration-inspiration.html
At the links below you can see what I've baked on previous Oestaras if you need ideas:
Oestara 2014- fairy cakes (cupcakes): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2014/04/oestara.html
Oestara 2015- sugar cookie bars: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2015/03/oestara-2015.html
Oestara 2016- Malteser slice: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2016/03/oestara-2016.html
Oestara 2017- frosted sugar cookie bars: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/03/oestara-2017.html
Oestara 2018- white chocolate Malteser cake: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/oestara-2018.html
Oestara 2019- Malteser fridge squares: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/oestara-2019.html
I usually put Mini Eggs on top to fit the theme! This year I thought I'd make either carrot cake or white chocolate tiffin, and think I will go with the tiffin. Probably without cherries though. It's a no-bake technically, similar to the Birdies Perch Malteser slice, one of my favourite things to make! You can see the recipe here: https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/jo-wheatley-s-white-chocolate-tiffin
Here are a couple more recipes you may like to try:
Ostara lemon bread: https://cantataelixir.com/pages/ostara-lemon-bread-recipe
Lemon lavender Ostara cake: https://plentifulearth.com/lemon-lavender-ostara-cake-recipe-2/
Egg dyeing is a fun activity to try. I've had a go at it before, both for Oestara and Easter, but it doesn't always come out so well! lol. I don't think I'll do it this year, at least not for Oestara. If you'd like to try, you can find some links with egg dyeing methods in my Easter 2019 post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/easter-2019.html
And this post shows you how to use egg shells to make fertility powder for growing something (e.g. a goal or a quality in yourself): https://cauldronandbrew.com/ostara-eggs/
I've not tried this but it sounds good. There's also a wish spell with bean plants. Lots of us grew beans at school! This would be nice to do with kids.
The Witch at One and 70 has some suggestions for making spring wreaths: http://suzyhomemaker.co.uk/spring-wreath-3-ways/
And visit this post on Moody Moons to learn how to make your Ostara wildflower bouquets: https://moodymoons.com/2019/03/20/ostara-mini-wildflower-bouquets-spring-equinox-craft/
Finally this website suggests planting sunflowers for the Spring Equinox: https://rootedchildhood.com/planting-sunflowers-spring-equinox/
I've grown sunflowers in the past but that was before I was aware of the sabbats, so planting some for Oestara is a nice idea if you're into gardening. :)
Now here are some idea for celebrating spring in general. :)
I've written a couple of posts before on getting ready for spring which you can find here:
Getting Ready for Spring: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/getting-ready-for-spring.html
Preparing for Spring + Spring Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/preparing-for-spring-spring-inspiration.html
And here are some new Spring themed links:
Post and video with ideas for spring witchcraft: https://www.siobhanjohnson.com/spring-witchcraft/
Journalling prompt to welcome in spring: https://www.sophiecliff.com/blog/2020/3/2/5-journaling-prompts-to-help-you-welcome-in-spring
Spring hygge: https://hyggeliteraryclub.com/2017/03/31/spring-into-hygge-11-ways-to-carry-on-the-coziness-this-spring/
In Celebration of Spring: http://www.featherflint.com/2017/04/18/spring-quotes-photos-songs/
How to manifest in spring: https://emmamumford.co.uk/how-to-manifest-this-spring/
Post about stimulating change by tapping into the energy of spring: https://xseptemberstar.com/2019/03/03/seasons-of-being-spring-how-to-stimulate-change-by-tapping-into-the-energy-of-spring/
I don't keep a "proper" altar (just a small family one) but if you do you may like this post with suggestions for a spring altar: http://www.bellebookandbramble.com/2017/03/nine-ideas-for-your-spring-altar.html
Also since Easter is coming up (Easter Sunday is 12th April this year) here is an article about the origin of the festival: https://www.whyeaster.com/customs/festivals.shtml
Hope you enjoyed the post and it's given you lots of ideas for Oestara/and or spring! :) I will make the white chocolate tiffin and maybe go to the beach or the park to take sunset pics. (Although with the coronavirus it's worrying to think that we may have a potential "lockdown" situation, like in Italy and Spain!).
It's not been as cold a winter as some years with temperatures around 6 to 11C (42 to 51 F), but I'm looking forward to spring and warmer weather. The days are getting longer and lighter now. At the beginning of March sunset in my area was around 5.50pm and is now at 6.05pm.
Happy Oestara/Spring Equinox! (Or Happy Madron/Autumn Equinox!). :) I'll do another post next week about my Oestara. For now here a couple more links you may like:
A Joyful To Do List for March: https://www.sophiecliff.com/blog/2020/2/27/a-joyful-to-do-list-for-march
Tips for beating the rainy day blues- we certainly have a lot of those days in the UK (although we do get nice weather too) and spring is a "rainy season" in general!): https://isntthatcharming.com/blog/2018/04/04/5-tips-for-beating-the-rainy-day-blues/
Photos: Local daffodils. Moonsparkle 2020.