Friday, March 18, 2016
Ostara and Easter and the Correlations Between Them
Happy Ostara and a Blessed Easter!
The Vernal/Spring Equinox has been celebrated across the world by many Pagan cultures for centuries. Before the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth and the religion that was developed and propagated by his disciples, everyone, by definition, was Pagan. What I mean by the word Pagan, was at that time, people, cultures that believed in worship and in a power greater than themselves. A spiritual being or beings that ruled the world of Nature, the Earth, the wind, water, the elements of the natural world.
They believed in Goddesses who gave birth to the world as they knew it, and of Gods who, in tandem with the Goddesses kept the world turning, the seasons changing and provided the sustenance and nourishment, shelter and clothing, all derived from the natural world, which kept them alive and thriving. The entire world of the Pagan was being a part of Nature. These ancient peoples lived in Nature whereas today, we live in spite of Nature.
In this world of Nature, these Pagans, observed the world around them for information as to how the world worked and in turn how they existed within this world. For this time of the year, they saw, after the 'death' of winter, the re-birth of the Earth. They saw the gentle greening of the grasses, the tender budding of the trees, the first blooms in the gardens, the warming of the air. They saw the wild birds start laying eggs in the nests, the rutting of the rabbits which resulted in baby bunnies, which is one of the first animals of the forest and fields to give birth in the spring.
The entire celebration of this holy day (holiday) was to rejoice in the return of Spring, which meant warmer, easier days and nights, fresh greens and food stuffs and fresh eggs, and fresh meat to hunt and eat. The early Christians also celebrated re-birth, but for them then, as for Christians today, their celebration is for the re-birth, the resurrection, of Jesus Christ. The renewal of the soul, the spirit, after death, to be resurrected and allowed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
But, we, each of us, Pagans and Christians are celebrating the return of Spring in one fashion or another and each is special and important. We Pagans celebrate with feasting and the enjoyment of foods that we might have been deprived of during the scarce winter months. The scarcity of nourishing foods was a reality in ancient days, more so than today. Many Christians of today recognize a period of want or self denial of certain luxuries, the Lenten season, which is ended or broken with the Easter feast which often includes rich, special foods not often indulged in during the rest of the year.
After having gone six weeks, of Lent, without many 'treats', we see the Easter celebrations today incorporating sweets, candy and chocolates, rich pastries, breads, cakes and egg based dishes. Ham is an ancient, traditional dish served at this time, as pork was a sacred meat and food stuff for the ancient Celts and Druids. Just about every culture from Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean cultures all celebrate Easter or Ostara or some recognition of the return of the Spring.
Even the origins of the word Easter, according to Etymology experts, derives from the ancient Proto-Germanic word Eastre, which means dawn and was the name of a Goddess of Spring and fertility. Eastre is also the ancient spelling of the word Ostara. It is believed to be the only Christian holy day whose name was taken directly from the spelling of it's Pagan equivalent.
I have often felt, that this holiday, more so than any other on the Wheel of the Year, brings Pagans and Christians closer together than any other holiday. Yes, many of the Christian holy days have been adapted from Pagan Sabbats, but Ostara/Easter is so close in so many ways and observances, to make us more alike than different.
So, whether you celebrate Ostara or Easter or both! I wish you a blessed Spring Equinox and a lovely return of Spring. Bright Blessings, Ms. Faith
Peace and Happiness
© 2010-2016 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.
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at Friday, March 18, 2016