I didn’t mean to take over a month off from blogging but a bout of minor illnesses and ever deeper depths of sleep deprivations have meant that here I am, writing to you, just as the wheel of the year is about to turn again. March 20th marks the Spring Equinox, also known as the pagan celebration of Ostara.
This is one of the points in the year when the day and night are equal in length. The plentiful rains of Spring meet with the rising sunshine, both nourishing the Earth and all that is growing at this time. New life is everywhere. Nature comes into balance, and it’s a powerful time for us to come into balance and nourish ourselves as well.
Here are some ideas to celebrate this special time as a family.
Bake Ostara buns.
Although hot cross buns are thought of as an Easter treat, the tradition actually predates Christianity and were traditionally made for Ostara. The cross on top represents the four quarters of the moon, the four seasons, the four elements, and the wheel of life. This vegan recipe looks like a delicious one to try.
Make honey cakes.
Another traditional recipe for Ostara is honey cakes. There are many variations on this recipe floating around the web. I’ve yet to find a dairy- and egg-free version, so perhaps I’ll have to come up with my own!
You’re probably getting the idea that many Easter traditions have their roots in Ostara, egg painting included. For a vegan option, I’ve ordered a set of wooden eggs. Peter can paint a couple each year and we can keep them for our annual decorations. With slightly older children, you could encourage them to paint, write, or sing their wishes for the season onto the egg and bury it in the ground to call in the Earth’s magic to support them.
Read about dragons, eggs, lambs, rabbits, and hares.
These are all traditional symbols of Ostara and beautiful picture books are a wonderful way to incorporate them into the day with children. We love A First Book of Animals, The Egg, Emma’s Lamb, The Odd Egg, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Rabbit’s Spring Adventure (here are some of our other favourite spring books).
Add items to your family nature table or altar.
Feathers, seedlings, amethyst, wool, dragons, flags, honey, and eggs are all traditional symbols for Ostara.
As the Earth comes into balance, this is the perfect time to focus on cultivating our internal balance and mindfulness is a powerful way to do this. I love Eloise’s blog post on simple ways to practice mindfulness with toddlers.
Do science experiments involving balance.
As you discuss the balance of light and dark that is achieved at Ostara, it might be helpful to solidify this concept for children using tangible experiments. A simple set of kitchen scales and household objects to weigh would be one easy option.
Create simple flags or kites.
Using cloth or paper for your child to decorate, you can then attach them to a stick or string. Take them out to the park, offering your prayers and wishes to the wind.
Go for a nature scavenger hunt.
Jill from The Little Oak Learning recently sent out a lovely one to her mailing list but you could easily make your own and even have your child illustrate it. Can you find a bird nest? A worm? Daffodils? Crocuses? Tulips? A tree covered in buds? What other signs of spring would you like to be on the look out for? Keep your list in your bag and have your kid tick it off whenever they spot something from it. Or keep it a bit more open-ended and simply compile a list of all the signs of spring you spot.
Recite springtime verses.
Here’s a lovely one I found via The Mystical Kingdom:
Welcome, welcome, warm fresh earth!
Today we celebrate rebirth!
Blowing wind, rising sun, Bringing the spring to everyone!
Rabbits hopping, chicks in the nest, Spring is the season we love the best!
Celebrate the green of the earth with me – Happy Ostara, and blessed be!
If you like giving gifts to honour the sabbats, wooden animals, amethyst crystals, a spearmint plant to care for, chocolate eggs, or woollen clothing would all be fitting for Ostara.
Do you have plans to celebrate Ostara as a family? I’d love to hear what you’ll be up to.