If you compare the Christian holiday calendar with the Pagan holidays, you will notice that for every Pagan holiday celebrated there is a Christian one close to it. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a rumor that when the Christian religion was first getting its roots, the bishops and the popes decided that the best way to ease the transition from Paganism to Christianity was to make all the holidays close to each other. I don’t know if I actually believe this theory, but it definitely makes you wonder about when Christ was really born…
Anyway, back to the topic at hand, which is the current holiday of Ostara, and it’s Christian mate, Easter. There are a ton of similarities between the two holidays, the biggest one being their names. Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre. Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling “Ostara” which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox.
The 1974 edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Easter as: “orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21.” The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.
This year, the actual date of Ostara was yesterday, March 20th. However, I didn’t get around to posting about it because, well, I’m lazy. For those of you who are interested, there is more info about Ostara below in the extended entry. I think the reason why I like this particular holiday so much is because it symbolizes the end of the winter and the coming of spring. Out with the cold, in with the warmth. That’s a good reason to celebrate for me.