Happy Ostara! Celebrating the Spring Equinox at Hogwarts
Today is a special day that has been observed by different cultures the world over since people first studied the sky: spring equinox, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and when night and day are equal in measure. One term for the day, Ostara, comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, who is also the origin of Easter. The day is still marked by indulging in nature’s beauty and bounty, recognizing the welcome change in the seasons after cold, harsh winters.
Here at MuggleNet, we know the past year has been long and difficult. We wish to extend a happy Ostara to all our readers as we manifest all that this day stands for, including renewed hope for new beginnings and prosperous growth.
The spring equinox is also deeply rooted in ancient traditions among occult communities. So how would Ostara be celebrated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? We have the inside scoop, having good connections at the magic school. Here is how everyone’s favorite Harry Potter characters embrace tradition and honor the enchanting start of spring.
Our favorite bookish Gryffindor and eccentric Ravenclaw unearth old library books telling of Ostara celebrations of old on the castle grounds. Hermione and Luna interview Professor Sinistra, the Astronomy teacher, about the powerful effects of the equilibrium of the sun and moon. They then set out to advertise their plans to spend the day honoring the equinox and manifesting positive change with their fellow classmates. After all, the Sorting Hat tells us that tradition and joining together make us stronger to face our troubles.
Luna struggles at first to find a willing partner for her plans, but Neville helps recruit Dean, who is something of an artist. Luna explains how a big part of Ostara is planting seeds and cultivating plants. The three settle on painting colorful designs on terra cotta pots for Herbology, for Hagrid’s hut, and to decorate their common rooms with unique and pleasant plants.
Luna includes unconventional creatures in her designs while Neville and Dean choose to depict the shapes of flowers, birds, and the sun and moon, which share the day. Neville then thanks the two artists and goes to see Professors Sprout and Hagrid, who smile and suggest the perfect plants to take root in these beautiful pots. Some devoted Herbology students, mostly Hufflepuffs, spend the day planting and pruning.
Luna carefully includes hares in her art, which is her Patronus as well as a symbol of the ancient holiday. She tells Draco Malfoy of this matter-of-factly, also noting the status of the serpent as being traditionally connected with the spring equinox.
The Patil twins and Lavender Brown might usually balk at Luna and Hermione’s ideas, but a cord is struck at the mention of flower crowns and the powerful effects of the equinox. They pick blooming daffodils and conjure butterflies to make magical crowns, headbands, and hair ornaments. They then don these and troop into Firenze’s classroom to observe the stars with one of their favorite teachers.
Hermione convinces Ron and some others in her House to join in a sponsored scrub of the common room for a bit of what she exuberantly deems “spring cleaning”; though she isn’t sure that her fellow Gryffindors have wholly bought into SPEW, she has hidden Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes chocolate eggs around the room and is offering a Honeydukes prize to the student who cleans (and finds) the most. Ron appears to be winning before he rushes off to Quidditch practice.
Meanwhile, Harry and Ginny are eager to get onto the Quidditch pitch for one of the first sunny days in a long while. They enjoy a playful game with the Gryffindor team before they all stop to relax and rest, floating on their brooms high above the grounds, watching the glowing sunset as the moon rises across the sky.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny enjoy large cups of tea with seed cake at Hagrid’s before climbing through the hole to the newly-cleaned Gryffindor common room. They find a party, complete with a beautiful banner painted by Dean and Luna bearing the phrase “Happy Ostara!” Seamus passes around dandelion wine, which is happily shared by the house-elves when they see that they would enjoy a day off of cleaning this part of the castle. The students celebrate, gazing out at the equinox in progress and admiring Neville’s new plants on the windowsills. All is well.
The spring equinox stands for hopeful rebirth and beauty in nature. From planting to hiking and cleaning to meditation, how will you honor this magical change in the seasons this weekend?