THE SPRING EQUINOX SABBAT
(by Gerina Dunwich, "Wicca Craft")
The Spring Equinox Sabbat is a fertility rite celebrating
the birth of Spring and the reawakening of life from
the earth. On this sacred day, Witches light new fires at
sunrise, rejoice, ring bells, and decorate hard-boiled
eggs-an ancient Pagan custom associated with the
Goddess of Fertility.
Eggs, which are obvious symbols of fertility and
reproduction, were used in ancient fertility rites. They
were painted with various magickal symbols and then
cast into fires or buried in the earth as offerings to the
Goddess. In certain parts of the world, Spring Equinox
eggs were painted yellow or gold (sacred solar colors)
and used in rituals to honor the Sun God.
The aspects of the Goddess invoked at this Sabbat are
Eostre (the Saxon goddess of fertility) and Ostara (the
German goddess of fertility). In some Wiccan traditions,
the fertility deities worshipped on this day are the
Green Goddess and the Lord of the Greenwood.
Like most of the old Pagan festivals, Spring Equinox
was Christianized by the church into the religious holiday
of Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus
Easter (which is named after the Saxon fertility deity
Eostre) was not officially given the name of the Goddess
until the end of the Middle Ages.
To this day, Easter Sunday is determined by the
ancient lunar calendar system which places the holiday
on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or following
the Vernal Spring Equinox. (Formally, this marked the
"pregnant" phase of the Triple Goddess passing into
the fertile season.)
Easter, like nearly every Christian religious holiday,
is rich with an abundance of Pagan overtones, customs,
and traditions such as Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.
Eggs, as previously mentioned, were ancient fertility
symbols and offerings to the goddess of the Pagans.
The hare was a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, and
was a sacred animal to many lunar goddesses in both
western and eastern cultures, including the goddess
Ostara, whose escort was a rabbit.
The traditional Pagan foods of the Spring Equinox
Sabbat are hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, the first fruits
of the season, and milk punch. In Sweden, waffles are
the traditional springtime food.