As we fast approach one of the eight celebrated Wiccan Festivals, Ostara, let's take a look at where this festival originates and what it means to Wiccans.
The Wheel of the Year is what the Wiccans use to celebrate the seasonal cycle of the earth; each festival is spaced out every six to seven weeks in the calendar year. Four of the festivals have Celtic origins with Celtic names: Imbolc (February), Beltane (April/May), Lughnasadh (August) and Samhain (October/November) whilst the other four, which are more commonly known, point to the solar calendar: Spring and Autumn Equinox and the Summer and Winter Solstice.
The festival Ostara is on March 21st and 22nd and celebrates the Spring Equinox which is considered to be a gateway where we can pause and reflect and then move into a new time of the year. It is the second of 3 spring festivals and is traditionally a time used to free yourself from things that hinder you. It is the day of equilibrium where neither the harsh winter nor the merciless summer is present. Night is not longer than day, day not longer than night. It is recommended as a good time to perform self banishing and gain qualities we wish we have. Like Christianity, it is a time when the Wiccans decorate their houses with painted eggs and baskets of spring flowers.
This particular Sabbat (festival) also celebrates the fertility of seeds blessed for planting and the general rebirth that comes with spring. Traditional colours for the holiday are light green, pale pink and lemon yellow. Wiccans use Neolithic sites like Stone Henge to celebrate these festivals, as they continue to act as gigantic solar calendars showing significant dates for hundreds of years.
Celebrating and living the Wheel of the Year help Wiccans nurture spiritual roots and deepen the connection with their spirit. They get to refine their practice and show their commitment to their religion. It also heightens their connection with Earth and Nature and helps to awaken their relationship with land and elements. Each of the eight festivals is an important time for all Wiccans and specific rituals and traditions are undertaken with each.