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Thread: Ostara/Spring Equinox: Symbolism, lore, etc

  1. #1
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    Ostara/Spring Equinox: Symbolism, lore, etc

    Some resources on Ostara and Spring Equinox symbolism, traditions, lore and whatnot. Feel free to add more links and discuss!

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    The Spring Equinox is associated with, or known as: Alban Eilir, Eostar, Eostre, Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Festival of Trees, Lady Day, NawRuz, No Ruz, Ostara, Ostra, Rites of Spring, and the Vernal Equinox.

    Spring Equinox



    Ostara


    Other Spring Festivals

    Symbols
    Eggs:
    see this post, link here

    Rabbits/Hares & Hot Crossed Buns: see this post, link here

    (more to come!)

    Last edited by Agaliha; March 20th, 2009 at 01:38 AM.

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    Seeing as Eostre (Ostara) was an Anglo-Saxon Goddess, I thought I would add some links from Anglo-Saxon pagans:



    http://www.ealdriht.org/modules/gods Eostre from Miercinga Theod.

    http://englishheathenism.homestead.com/eostre.html Eostre from English Heathenism.

    http://www.englatheod.org/eostre.htm Eostre at Englatheod.

    http://www.ealdriht.org/modules/tides/ Easter Rites at Miercinga Theod.

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    Cool info and great links .

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    http://www.wyrdwords.vispa.com/godde...tre/index.html


    Here's another that's decent.


    Gyda

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    This is awesome, Im loving learning how this time of year was celebrated in all these traditions! Thanks to all who contributed to the thread. The Gebu/hot cross buns info was really interesting! "Cross buns were of course baked and eaten. While this could be a Christian addition, that cakes were often use in Heathen rites is apparent in any survey of the lore. And the cross may be symbolic of the rune Gebo or the buns may represent the sun wheel."
    Last edited by Brigid Rowan; March 9th, 2008 at 09:20 AM.
    "We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers--you can blame anyone, but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's ALWAYS your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?"
    -- Katharine Hepburn


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    Eggs

    Here's some stuff!!

    Eggs


    Pysanka:
    A pysanka (Ukrainian: писанка, plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word comes from the verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. (Wiki)

    Pagan Beliefs: The coloured decorated eggs played a special part in the rituals of the spring festivals held in honour of the sun. The ancient peoples learned to be loyal to the creative powers of the the sun and recognized in the egg a reflection of solar power. Eggs were an ideal offering to the dead, who were expected to use the packaged regenerative powers to insure the continued cycle of plant and animal life.
    Christian Beliefs: When Ukrainians accepted Christianity in 988 A.D., the egg transcended it's symbolism of nature's rebirth and became representation of man's rebirth. The egg symbol was likened to the tomb from which Christ arose and was easily incorporated into the Christian ceremonies. The decorated egg became part of the Christian tradition and Easter ritual. The traditional pre-Christian motifs and designs were not changed but a new layer of meaning was added, giving them Christian significance.
    (source)

    They're very symbolic and detailed (and pretty)!
    General:
    Last edited by Agaliha; March 10th, 2008 at 08:18 AM.

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    Rabbits, Hot Crossed Buns

    Rabbits/Hares
    Hot Crossed Buns

    "The practice of eating special small cakes at the time of the Spring festival seems to date back at least to the ancient Greeks, but the English custom of eating spiced buns on Good Friday was perhaps institutionalized in Tudor times, when a London bylaw was introduced forbidding the sale of such buns except on Good Friday, at Christmas, and at burials. The first intimation we have of a cross appearing on the bun, in remembrance of Christ's cross, comes in Poor Robin's Amanack (1733): Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs, with one or two a penny hot cross buns' (a version of the once familiar street-dry "One-a-penny, two-a penny, hot cross buns'). At this stage the cross was presumably simply incised with a knife, rather than piped on in pastry, as is the modern commercial practice. As yet, too, the name' of such buns was just cross buns: James Boswell recorded in his Life of Johnson (1791): 9 Apr. An. 1773 Being Good Friday I breakfasted with him and cross-buns.' The vact that they were generally sold hot, howeer, seems to have led by the early nineteenth century to the incorpordaion of hot into their name."
    ---An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 164)

    "The pagans worshipped the goddess Eostre (after whom Easter was named) by serving tiny cakes, often decorated with a cross, at their annual spring festival. When archaeolgists excavated the ancient city of Herculaneum in southwestern Italy, which had been buried under volcanic ask and lava since 79 C.E., they found two small loaves, each with a cross on it, among the ruins. The English word "bun" probably came from the Greek boun, which referred to a ceremonial cake of circular or crescent shape, made of flour and hone and offered to the gods. Superstitions regarding bread that was baked on Good Friday date back to a very early period. In England particulary, people believed that bread baked on this day could be hardened in the oven and kept all year to protect the house from fire. Sailors took leaves of it on their voyages to prevent shipwreck, and a Good Friday loaf was often buried in a heap of corn to protect it from rats, mice, and weevils. Finely grated and mixes with water, it was sometimes used as a medicine. In England nowadays, hot cross buns are served at break are served at breakfast on Good Friday morning. They are small, usually spiced buns whose sugary surface is marked with a cross. The English believe that hanging a hot cross bun in the house on this day offers protection from bad luck in the coming year. It's not unusual to see Good Friday buns or cakes hanging on a rack or in a wire basket for years, gathering dust and growing black with mold--although some people believe that if the ingredients are mixed, the dough prepared, and the buns baked on Good Friday itself, they will never get moldy."
    ---Holiday Symbols and Customs, Sue Ellen Thompson, 3rd edition [Omnigraphics:Detroit] 2003, (p. 233)

    "Hot cross bun, a round bun made from a rich yeast dough containing flour, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, currants, and spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. In England, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday; they are marked on top with a cross, wither cut in the dough or composed of strips of pastry. The mark is of ancient origin, connectd with religious offerings of bread, which replaced earlier, less civilized offerings of blood. The Egyptians offered small round cakes, marked with a representation of the horns of an ox, to the goddess of the moon. The Greeks and Romans had similar practices and the Saxons ate buns marked with a cross in honor of the goddess of light, Eostre, whose name was transferred to Easter. According to superstition, hot cross buns and loaves baked on Good Friday never went mouldy, and were sometimes kept as charms from one year to the next. Like Chelsea buns, hot cross buns were sold in great quantities by the Chelsea Bun House; in the 18th century large numbers of people flocked to Chelsea during the Easter period expressly to visit this establishment."
    ---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 114)

    "Bath buns, hot cross buns, spice buns, penny buns, Chelsea buns, currant buns-all these small, soft, plump, sweet, fermented' cakes are English institutions...The most interesting of the recipes is perhaps the simple spiced fruit bun, the original of our Good Friday hot cross bun without the cross. These spice buns first became popular in Tudor days, at the same period as the larger spice loaves or cakes, and were no doubt usually made form the same batch of spcied and butter-enriched fruit dough. For a long time bakers were permitted to offer these breads and buns for sale only on special occasions, as is shown by the following decree, issued in 1592, the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Elizabeth I, by the London Clerk of the Markets: That no bakers, etc, at any time or times hereafter make, utter, or sell by retail, within or without their houses, unto any of the Queen's subject any spice cakes, buns, biscuits, or other spice bread (being bread out of size and not by law allowed) except it be at burials, or on Friday before Easter, or at Christmas, upon pain or forfeiture of all such spiced bread to the poor...If anybody wanted spice bread and buns for a private celebration, then, these delicacies had to be made at home. In the time of James I, further attempts to prevent bakers from making spice breads and buns proved impossible for enforce, and in this matter thhe bakers were allowed their way. Although for difference reasons, the situation now is much as it was in the late seventeenth century, spice buns appearing only at Easter--not, to be sure, on Good Friday when bakeries are closed, but about a fortnight in advance..."
    ---English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Elizabeth David [Penguin Books:Middlesex UK] 1979 (p. 473-5)

    (Source)
    Last edited by Agaliha; March 10th, 2008 at 07:54 AM.

  9. #9
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    Found another site!

    Eoster: Mysteries of the Resurrected Child.
    Pagan origins of Easter celebrations (with an emphasis on the Hellenic tradition).

  10. #10
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    Bumping for the vernal equinox tomorrow (N. Hemisphere)!

    In the Northern Hemisphere spring officially begins at 7:44 am ET on Friday, March 20, 2009.


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