Well, I know a big part of the world is celebrating easter sunday today, but I am a bit more "traditional" and prefer the old celtic way of celebrate the changes in nature...
And they had something called "Ostara"...No surprise then how the name "Ostern" in German language comes from, hm?
Well, traditionally Ostara is celebrated around the 21.-22. march, with Beltane following on 31.4./1.5., but that is only if you follow the calendar. These old "festivals" always took the rounds of the moon and sun into account, and are usually being done at either full- or new moon. The full moon has been in the last days, like you must have noticed if you look outside at night! Because the christian easter celebrations take the moon into account too, they are usually at the same time.
But on how and why Ostara changed into "Ostern" is a whole different story...
So...what is it that Ostara makes into a festival?
Ostara (Eostre in English) was the name of a germanic goddess of spring, so, in a way, it is another celebration for the spring, which already arrived. It is the rebirth of the soil. Everything is starting to grow fertile, the dark and hard days of winter are long gone, the sun has won the fight against the darkness.
Many animals wake up from their wintersleep, everyone is becoming more active due to the bigger amount of sunshine. Flowers bloom, and animals start to search for their mates. This is also the reason why the hares/ rabbits and the eggs are such typical symbols for easter, they symbolize the fertility. But it is also the time where the deers are more to be seen again, too. I really like that type of animal, so here is a small drawing as a reward for them.:
Well, as far as I know, there used to be a tradition for women to collect water of springs during that night, a
nd carry that jars home, without talking or looking at anyone. Like this, the water is supposed to have special powers.
And there surely are many many more customs on what is being done at easter, each place surely has its own way of celebrations and symbols and meanings.
But well, this year....as strange as last winter has been, is the spring this year really this fertile and renewing? When I look at the trees in the forest, they are much less "renewed" like they have been last year at the same time... Spring is there in the nothern hemisphere, definitely, but somehow in a slow/ strange kind of way...Why knows why? :)
Does anyone know interesting customs being done at the time of easter? How is it like in other countries? Feel free to comment. :)