March 20th is the Vernal Equinox this year:
Spring is the dawn of the new zodiacal year in the Northern Hemisphere. Don’t you just love the word “equinox?” I have to decide each time whether to say it with a short or long “e”. The equinoxes are the two times during the year when the dark of night and the light of day are in balance or equal. Another name for the Vernal Equinox is Ostara, from the name of a German Goddess of fertility, Oestarae.
She is the deific equivalent of the Greco-Roman goddess, Aurora, the personification of the sunrise. Consider that the Sun rises in the East and her name is where East and Easter both come from. The Christian Easter date was decided by the Council of Nicaea to fall the first Sunday after the first full Moon occurring on or after the March Equinox. This effectively removed its observance from conflicts with either Ostara or Passover.
There are many holidays and customs associated with March besides Easter. Click here to browse a few.
Signs of Spring:
Aries (Mar 20-Apr 19), Taurus (Apr 20-May 19), & Gemini (May 20- Jun 19)
Symbols of Spring:
Baby animals, rabbits, lambs, colored Easter eggs, robins, crocus and tulips
Foods of Spring:
Asparagus, artichokes, strawberries, apricots and fresh greens
Colors of Spring:
The pale green of young leaves, white of apple and pear blossoms, pink of camellia, azalea and cherry, yellow of witch hazel and forsythia, and all the colors of tulips.
Stones of Spring:
Ruby, diamond and red jasper are the traditional stones for Aries. Amethyst. aventurine and rose quartz are traditional for Taurus, agate, moonstone and tiger eye for Gemini.
Activities of Autumn:
Walk in the arboretum under the cherry blossoms, go to the garden show and purchase plants and seeds for next year, make camping reservations for Summer!
Ostara’s place in the The Wheel of the Year.
And… Since you know how I love this kind of thing, are some more dates from Wikipedia:
The Babylonian calendar began with the first full moon after the vernal equinox, the day after the Sumerian goddess Inanna‘s return from the underworld (later known as Ishtar), in the Akitu ceremony, with parades through the Ishtar Gate to the Eanna temple, and the ritual re-enactment of the marriage to Tammuz, or Sumerian Dummuzi.
The Indian national calendar starts the year on the day next to the vernal equinox on 22 March (21 March in leap years) with a 30-day month (31 days in leap years), then has 5 months of 31 days followed by 6 months of 30 days.