ADF Dedicant Path: Sixth High Day Essay (Spring Equinox)
ADF and most Neopagans recognize Ostara (or Eostre) as falling on the spring equinox. The Anglo-Saxons, however, would have most likely celebrated the feast of Eostre on or just after the full moon following the equinox, which coincides closely with the Christian Easter holiday. Either way, Eostre is the festival of early spring and the deities of springtime, especially Eostre. Beltane too is a springtime festival, but the focus is slightly different. It seems to be the general consensus that Eostre is for celebrating the fertility of the land, while Beltane is for celebrating the fertility of the people. Although some areas of the northern hemisphere start their gardens as early as Imbolc, Eostre is widely recognized as the start of planting season. By Beltane, the hard work is done and people can turn their attention to more personal festivities.
Eostre is also a popular time of year for clearing out clutter and ridding one’s house of stagnant winter air and energies. Spring cleaning that may have begun at Imbolc really gets going around the spring equinox. For busy Neopagans, the simple act of opening a window or bringing in fresh flowers can be turned into a meaningful ritual to wake up and rejuvenate a home and it’s inhabitants.
Common symbols of the season include colored eggs, bunnies, and flowers. There are many legends surrounding the association of bunnies and eggs with Eostre, but some claim the association came about in Christian times. Nevertheless, rabbits were associated with fertility in pagan times even if not specifically associated with Eostre. Don’t let the specificities keep you from letting the Easter bunny visit!