The snow melts, the plants grow, the birds sing ‘It’s Spring! It’s Spring!’ After a dreary cold winter, spring is a season that many people look forward to. Seeing that first spring bird, knowing that the Easter Bunny is just around the corner.
What people may not know, however, is that spring did not always herald the coming of Easter.
The official first day of spring is either March 20 or 21 each year, with it falling on March 20 this year.
That official first day has several names. The first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox, Ostara. Ostara is the name that has probably been around the longest.
This time of year was picked by the Christians to become Easter. The Jewish holiday of Passover takes place around this time as well.
The spring festival was celebrated in honor of birth-death-rebirth and the goddess Eostre (which later became Ostara) long before the actual ‘Easter’ was celebrated. The Easter Bunny didn’t even come in until about the 16th century in Germany.
Ostara is one of the eight holidays on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. The spring equinox is often celebrated by planting gardens, as this is one of the best times to do so.
That’s the spiritual part of the spring equinox. The scientific part, according to timeanddate.com: “The March equinox is the movement when the sun crosses the true celestial equator – or the line in the sky above the earth’s equator – from south to north, around March 20 (or March 21) of each year. At that time, day and night are balanced to nearly 12 hours each all over the world and the earth’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the earth and the sun.