Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Equinox /Forårsjævndøgn


People have recognized the vernal equinox for thousands of years. There is no shortage of rituals and traditions surrounding the coming of spring. Many early peoples celebrated for the basic reason that their food supplies would soon be restored. The date is significant in Christianity always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The early Egyptians built the Great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising Sun on the day of the vernal equinox.

Easter is termed a moveable fest because it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. Easter falls at some point between late March and late April each year (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity), following the cycle of the moon. Easter is the first Sunday after the first fourteenth day of the moon that is on or after March 21(the ecclesiastical spring, or vernal,equinox.

Ostara is one of the four lesser Wiccan holidays or sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. Ostara is celebrated on the spring equinox, in the Northern hemisphere around March 21. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane.
It was considered bad luck to wear anything new before Ostara, so the people would work through the winter in secret to make elegant clothes for the Sabbat celebration. The entire community would gather for games, feasting, and religious rituals while showing off their clothing.
The modern belief that eggs are delivered by a rabbit known as the Easter Bunny comes from the legend of the Goddess Eostre. So much did a lowly rabbit want to please the Goddess that he laid the sacred eggs in her honor, gaily decorated them, and humbly presented them to her. So pleased was she that she wished all humankind to share in her joy. In honor of her wishes, the rabbit went through the entire world and distributed these little decorated gifts of life"

The customs surrounding the celebration of the spring equinox were imported from Mediterranean lands, although there can be no doubt that the first inhabitants of the British Isles observed it, as evidence from megalithic sites shows. But it was certainly more popular to the south, where people celebrated the holiday as New Year's Day, and claimed it as the first day of the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries. However you look at it, it is certainly a time of new beginnings, as a simple glance at Nature will prove."

photo 2007-2008: grethe bachmann

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