The Spring Equinox 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.
A creature associate of Ostara’s is the hare, AKA the Easter bunny. Several websites tell me that she is said to have transformed a bird into a rabbit in order to amuse the children who follow her everywhere, and even though the bird is now a hare, she still lays eggs, only now they are brightly colored eggs. Sound silly? It does to me too and the fact that multiple sources are repeating it probably means that they are just copying one from another since I can’t find any mythological rationale. The connection is probably far more likely that Spring is when the baby animals are born. Rabbits, baby chicks and lambs are indicative of fertility and fertility with Spring. The tropical zodiac is based on the seasons, in contrast to the sidereal zodiac, which is based on the constellations themselves. The sign corresponding to the Vernal Equinox is Aries, the ram.
There are many holidays and customs associated with March besides Easter. Click here to peruse a few.
Ostara’s place in the The Wheel of the Year.
Click these links to learn more about Spring and Equinoxes: Rites of Spring or March Equinox Explained.
I love this kind of thing, here is a site that discusses all the things that are wrong with Easter for Christians.
Animal Aid carries vegan chocolate bunnies and cream eggs.
Healthy Indulgences has a recipe for healthy creme eggs.