Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ostara-Spring Equinox

It's that time of year again...Spring time!  Did you remember to change your clocks last night?  It's hard to realize an hour of your life is just gone, poof, vanished, in the time it takes to set the clock ahead isn't it?  Ah well, Ostara is a time for renewal and change so I suppose it's fitting.

This year Ostara, also known as Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, and the First Day of Spring, is on Sunday the 20th.  It is a celebration of balance as day and night are once again equal in length on this day.

Here are a few customs and activities for this month:
  • Time for a new broom. Get rid of your dirty & dusty broom filled with all the negativity of last year and pick up a new one.  Check your local dollar-type store for the best deal.
  • Start your Spring cleaning.  I'll be doing a post on this later this month.
  • While you're cleaning, sort through your personal items and donate anything that's no longer wanted or needed.
  • Pick or purchase flowers that "speak" to you and display them throughout your home.
  • Take a walk through gardens, forests, or even your local nursery.  Now that we have longer days, it's the perfect time!
  • Work on your magical garden.  If it's still too cold in your area, start planning it instead.

The colors for this time of year are light green, lemon yellow, and pale pink.  And scents, while being a very personal choice, should include some floral notes if you're not allergic.  I love candles, but as we all know they are ridiculously overpriced.  So I've switched to using an electric wax warmer and scented wax tarts.  This thing works great and my entire home smells wonderful!  Yankee Candle is great for seasonal scents and the tarts only cost $2!  They have two great ones right now, Spring Days (yellow), and Garden Hideaway (green).  I don't get paid for promoting their products, but the tarts are cheap and I just love them so I want to share!

Seasonal decorations include:
  • Eggs - colored or otherwise decorated
  • Rabbits
  • Chicks (the fuzzy yellow kind) *wink*
  • Spring flowers of any kind
  • Jelly beans.  These egg shaped, brightly colored candies are perfect for this season.  Put them in a candy dish or use as filler for candle holders.
My personal decorations include all the items I posted here but I've added plastic eggs in easter baskets, more butterflies, a large porcelain bunny I inherited from my Nana, a large bowl in the shape of a cabbage with bunnies as "feet".  I wanted to post some pics of my Ostara decorations but my digital camera has gone and died on me.

Spring foods include:
  • Seeds such as sunflower, sesame, pine nuts, and even pumpkin
  • Sprouts
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Twisted breads and sweet cakes
I like to serve a light meal usually consisting of baked chicken, fresh salad with tons of fruit and veggies, and a pasta alfredo side with some type of fruit danish as desert.

I hope you all have fun decorating for and attuning with this wonderful time of year when everything comes back to life!

All pictures belong to Martha Stewart Living and can be found here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Happy Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras everyone!  Are you wearing your beads? Having some Cajun cuisine?  Did you at least have some coffee with chicory?  Honestly I'm not much of a reveler any more, what with the family and full-time job.  And around here, there's really not much hoopla for Mardi Gras.  Unless of course you want to spend $100 per person (I'm not kidding) to visit the fake Mardi Gras at Universal Studios in Orlando.  So, since I know most of you don't live anywhere near today's celebrations, I'm curious to know how you celebrate Fat Tuesday.  Do you do anything different or special or is it just another Tuesday around your house?

Image found on

It's funny, I love all things New Orleans, and yet I've never been there.  I always wanted to go for Mardi Gras when I was younger.  Now, I don't think I could stand the throngs of drunken people.  Too many things going on at one time = my brain overloading!  But I do love the culture, history, architecture, (perceived) atmosphere, and of course the magic that seems to permeate it.  I think if I got the chance to go during an off-season I would love it.  Just to sit at one of the cafe's and sip coffee, wander the magic and Hoodoo shops, stroll through the spanish moss covered cemeteries, and listen to some Louisiana Jazz for a few days.  That sounds wonderful!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Madness (and I don't mean basketball)

February is finally over and March has officially arrived.  This month is shaping up to be a busy one as there are quite a few holidays/observances in the coming days. 

Mardi Gras
Daylight Savings Time (most areas)
Saint Patrick's Day
Ostara/Spring Equinox

While I don't actually "celebrate" all of these, there are a few small fun things that can be done just to recognize the day.  For Mardi Gras, why not listen to a little Zydeco music and make red beans & rice for dinner?  Don't forget the coffee with chicory and some beignets!  Maybe watch a movie that features Mardi Gras or is set in New Orleans, personally I like The Skeleton Key.

Daylight Savings Time starts this month and that means it's time to set the clocks ahead one hour (Spring forward, Fall back).  Now I don't like adjusting to getting up an hour earlier in the morning, but it is wonderful to have the extra sunshine in the evenings.  Take advantage of it; go for a walk around your neighborhood and have a look at all the signs of Spring.

I'm no expert on Saint Patrick's Day, but try listening to some Irish or Celtic music that you like. If you don't mind drunken crowds, visit your local Irish Pub and grab a pint (just stay away from the green beer!) I like to make Shepherd's Pie for dinner and serve it with potato rolls.

And then there's Ostara or the Spring Equinox.  I plan on doing an entire post on Ostara later this month.

The point is, you don't have to do much to make a holiday/observance a little special.  Have fun with it, break up the routine a little, get creative and make it a theme day!

~ Heathen