Celtic/Welsh Tradition

If you have read the Mabinogion myth, this is where the God of Light conquers his darker twin. The Goddess who has become the Maiden again since Imbolc, welcomes her Child and soon to be spouse. She watches him grow proudly. Pagans of old would light fires at dawn for protection of crops to come, renewed life, and cures to aliments they battled with over the hard Winter months.


Christian Traditions

The Roman Catholic Church adopted two holidays from the pagan celebrations. The first being the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was to become the Mother of God's Son (fixed date of March 25th). This day was chosen because it needed to be the exact nine months to December 25th, when the Son of God was said to be born. Even though she was birthing the Son of God, she's still human. I suppose an irregular gestation period would have been seen as Satanic. For this reason many Christians seem to think that any mention of "Lady Day" refers to this Christian Holiday, when it is referring to Ostara if coming from a Pagan mouth. If you take a closer look, this mythology was used long before Christian times. The Goddess returning to her Maiden, or Virgin (in this case meaning the original 'unmarried') aspect, was already established in Celtic lore. This is the time that the Young God and Maiden begin to create life again.

The second holiday that gets inappropriately combined with Ostara is Easter. Not so surprisingly either. Easter is also a celebration of life over death as Jesus rises again; just like the God of Light rises again to defeat the God of Darkness. Easter's name is derived from the Teutonic Goddess Eostre, (which incidentally is where we also get the name "estrogen" from), who's symbols were the Egg and the Rabbit. I know lights are going off, so yes... exactly where the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs came from. Rabbits are a symbol of fertility (as in "doing it like bunnies" in reference to sexual habits) and Eggs are a symbol of creation. As stated before, Her day is Ostara, the night of the Vernal Full Moon. The Church doesn't do Full Moons, but Easter is on the first Sunday after the Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox each year, and that's why it doesn't have a set date on the calendar. Furthermore, if Easter Sunday by chance did happen to be on the Vernal Full Moon, the Church was very adamant in being sure it was moved to the following Sunday so there would be no suspected association with "wicked" Pagan holidays.

Another not so striking similarity between general pagan mythology and Christian mythology - Jesus, after being Crucified on Good Friday, "descends into Hell" (also called the "Harrowing of Hell"). After the third day he rises again and proceeds to Heaven. Many of the older myths around the world speak of the Goddess descending into the Underworld for three days, continuing the trinity trend. Furthermore, it is said to coincide with the Vernal New Moon, which is not visible for three days, both the day before, the day of, and the day after. These myths had existed for many thousands of years before the coming of Christianity.

Wiccan Myth

The Goddess transfers Her fertility to the Earth and takes on the Maiden aspect. The God grows to maturity and will soon become the Goddess' lover at Beltane. For most Wiccans it is a celebration of fertility and growing Light.


Symbols of Ostara

  • Other Names: Eostre's Day, Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, Alban Eiber, Lady Day, and Easter.
  • Colors: Silver, Green, Lavender, Grass Green, Robin's Egg Blue, Lemon Yellow and Pale Pink.
  • Symbols: Eggs, New Moon, Butterflies, Cocoons, Baskets and the Equilateral Cross.
  • Ritual Meaning: Balance, New Life/Rebirth, Goddess and God in Youth, Light overtaking Darkness, and the God's Coming of Age.
  • Key Actions: Open and Begin
  • Ritual Oils: Lotus, Magnolia and Ginger
  • Stones: Amethyst, Aquamarine, Bloodstone, & Red Jasper
  • Plants: Roses, Strawberries, Seasonal Fruit Plants, Violets, Honeysuckle, Easter Lily, Dogwood, Daffodil, Iris, Irish Moss, Jonquil, Apple Trees (blossoms specifically), and Alder.
  • Activities: Dyeing Eggs, and Looking for Spring Growth.
  • Taboos: none known
  • Animals: Rabbits, Cougar, Sea Crow, Sea Eagle, Hedgehog, and Boar.
  • Mythical Creatures: Merfolk and any other Air or Water beings
  • Deities: Eostre (who can also be connected with Ishtar and Astarte), the Green Goddess, Aphrodite, Hera, Artemis, Athena, Isis, Astarte, Cybele, Hecate, Luna, Minerva, the Morrigan, the Muses, Persephone, Adonis, Dagda, Pan, Aengus Óg, Aries, Eros, and the Horned God
  • Foods: Hard boiled eggs, Honey Cakes, First Fruits of the Season, Nuts, Seeds, Leafy Veggies, and of course Chocolate!
  • Drinks: Lemonade, Egg-Nog, Anything that you can whip up from the seasonal fruits and berries.



Easter Bunny

Ostara comes from a Latin name for the Spring Goddess Eostre, for whom Easter was named. In fact, the story of the Easter Bunny which delights children so much in America comes from the legend of a humble little rabbit's dealings with the Goddess Eostre. As the legend goes, a lowly little rabbit wanted so much to please his Goddess that he laid sacred eggs in her honor and decorated them in beautiful rainbow colors. When the rabbit presented Eostre with his gift, she was so pleased that she desired for all humans to share in her joy and asked the little rabbit to go throughout the world distributing the little gifts.



This is the time of year when we decorate eggs, and the bunny hides them. The basket full of decorated eggs symbolizes the womb full of fertility almost ready to burst forth onto the Earth. During Ostara, eggs are decorated and used as altar decorations to honor the Goddess and the God, as well as carried as magical talismans for fertility. As sacred objects of life and fertility, eggs are also given as cherished gifts. 

The Great Rite, symbolic of the sexual union between Goddess and God and of the physical and spiritual union between all men and women, began to be enacted on the day of Ostara. The positive effects of this rite, a form of sympathetic magic, helped to bring fertility to the people, the land, and their animals. 

Day and night are equal as Spring begins to enliven the environment with new growth and more new born animals. The enigmatic egg is a powerful symbol of the emergence of life out of apparent death or absence of life.


Lady Day

In Wales, Ostara was known as Lady Day and signified the official return of the Goddess from her long winter hibernation. Many of the myths associated with Ostara concern trips by deities into the mysterious underworld, and their struggle and eventual return to the land of the living.

Many people feel "reborn" after the long nights and coldness of winter. The Germanic Goddess Ostara or Eostre (Goddess of the Dawn), after whom Easter is named, is the tutelary deity of this holiday. It is she, as herald of the sun, who announces the triumphal return of life to the earth.

Witches in the Greek tradition celebrate the return from Hades of Demeter's daughter Persephone; Witches in the Celtic tradition see in the blossoms the passing of Olwen, in whose footprints flowers bloom.

Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.


In fall, Persephone is stolen away by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Demeter, driven almost to frenzy by the abduction of her precious daughter (a younger form of Demeter herself), blasts the earth and refuses to let anything grow until her daughter is restored to her. 

Unfortunately, it isn't so simple. Persephone is also a death goddess, and she found in the underworld that her husband, Hades, was not entirely offensive to her. Despite knowing better she has eaten 6 pomegranate seeds, a potent blood-red symbol of female power, so no one can compel her to return to her mother and the pleasures of girlhood. 

She still loves her mother, however, and eventually a deal is worked out. Persephone will return to the above world for half of the year, depending on the different variations of the legend. In spring, she re-emerges and Demeter's delight is so great that she allows the earth to burst forth into bloom. Hades, his time of power being the fall and winter, retreats for a time until the next Equinox, in fall, when he will again abduct Persephone and continue the unending cycle