Eostre, pronounced (ae: astre) is an Anglo-Saxon Goddess believed to be Spring personified. The first mention of the Goddess occurs in an 8th-century work titled De Temporum Ratione, "A Reckoning of Time" written by a Northumbrian monk named Bede. In the treatise, Bede reveals his formula for calculating time, he states that the Latin name for the fourth month of the year Eosturmonath translates to April, and this name derived from the local Goddess Eostre who also lends her name to Easter. So little information on Eostre is available it has led some scholars to question whether or not she ever existed or was simply an invention concocted by Bede. Origin In a June 8, 1889 issue of the journal American Notes and Queries a small paragraph under the title “The Hare and Easter - Whence comes the Legend of the Hare in connection with Easter?” reveals the origin story of the Goddess. The article states that toy hares were given to children in Germany and among Pennsylvania Germans as gifts on Easter morning. As the children received eggs throughout the day they were told they were laid by an Osh’ter - a hare who can lay eggs. In one folktale the Goddess Ostara-Eostre comes across an injured bird that is dying. To help save the bird’s life she transforms the bird into a hare. Though transformed, the hare retains the ability to lay eggs. As a gesture of gratitude, the Hare decides to take a few of the eggs it has laid, decorate them and offer them to the Goddess which may explain how rabbits and eggs came to be associated with these Goddesses and by extension Easter.
Ostara Ostara, also known as the Vernal Equinox takes place between March 20 - 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and September 20 - 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. This event marks the official first day of Spring. As a Goddess, Ostara is a shadowy figure. Information regarding Ostara is even less than that of Eostre. The few documents available states that she is a Germanic Sun-Dawn Goddess associated with the coming of Spring, the two are often confused and sometimes regarded as alternate forms of the other along with Ishtar, Inanna, and Isis.
Goddess associated with Spring, fertility, rebirth, renewal, and dawn
Goddess Forms: Eastre, Ostara
Animal Form: White Rabbit
Colors: Pastel pinks, yellows, and greens
Offerings: Decorated eggs, Bread, Cake
Reference & Citation
American Notes and Queries, Vol 3 edited by William Shepard Walsh, Henry Collins Walsh, William H. Garrison, Samuel R. Harris
Connor, Kerri. Ostara: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Spring Equinox. Llewellyn Publications, 2015.
Jordan, Michael. Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses. 2nd ed., Facts On File, Inc., 2004.