Continuing our exploration of what celebration looks like in modern Pagan families, the Children & Families Team write about the traditions they have developed to mark Spring Equinox with their children aged 3 years and up
Spring Equinox is a time to celebrate new life and new growth. There are a few things we will be doing for this aspect. The first is spending time at the allotment, digging over beds and planting seeds. We’ll find a few special items to put on the altar down there. We’ll do a scavenger hunt, ticking off signs of spring we find on our nature walk. We’ll have a go at making nests out of our nature treasures (sticks, leaves etc) and add some wooden, coloured eggs; might do this on a paper plate too, sticking down paper twigs as my little dilophosaurus loves sticking. We will hopefully make some chocolate nests too with all bran and melted chocolate.
Although too young to make incense or burner oil yet they are good at helping count the drops of essential oils we need, so we’ll do some Ostara oil and burn that. We’ll have seasonal food as our festive feast, get them helping to bake a carrot cake. If there are enough dandelions about, we’ll pick some to make tea and add to our seasoned food -flowers and leaves.
We have a lovely story about the Green man bringing new growth and life to a dreary block of flats, so we’ll read that and use a wooden spoon to make a green man puppet – we can take this to the allotment with us while we plant seeds and tend the beds, asking him to help them grow.
Manager, Children & Families Team
The Spring Equinox is one of those festivals I love because it’s an astronomical certainty. Light and dark are more or less in balance, and the Earth (for us here in the Northern Hemisphere) is tilting back towards the sun and teasing us with the promise of summer. The weather, of course, doesn’t always agree!
We’re in the North of England, and we’ve spent many a family Spring Equinox celebration tucked indoors peering out of rainy windows. When it’s like this, we might bake or cook, using some ingredients left over from last year’s harvest. This might include foraged apples that we froze, or herbs that I grew myself and dried.
We always have flowers, often locally grown daffodils, usually rescued from the local food-waste initiative that also saves many supermarket bouquets from the bin. Mostly, we talk about the wonder of the world being in balance for us, how the days will become longer, and what we’re looking forward to. Something tells me that this year, that will be a strong theme indeed!
Secretary, Children & Families Team
Spring Equinox is usually a getting outside sort of festival in our family. Now that the days are longer, we’re spending more time in the garden, enjoying the growing warmth of the sun. As our garden is not very tidy (!), there are springtime “weeds” growing which nourish us and have cleansing properties. I like to add cleavers to fresh juice at this time of year and we might make a salad of dandelion leaves and ground elder. Spring Equinox celebrations often involve a picnic of some kind, starting the season of eating outside as much as possible.
Another favourite activity for this time is year is making seed bombs. We use whatever seeds we have, usually a variety of wild flowers, hopefully native and comfortable in our local climate. We roll the seeds into balls with soil, some powdered clay and perhaps a few drops of water to hold it all together. Once they’re dry, we take them out for a little neighbourhood guerilla gardening. Waste ground is best, not parks or nature reserves where our seeds might interfere with other plants. There’s some good spots at the base of advertising hoardings on a main road near our house, just the kind of place we love to help nature to sneak in!
London District Liaison, Children & Families Team
Living in the middle/South of England, we can see the start of spring clearly by Spring Equinox. In our house we refer to this festival as Eostre and it is one we celebrate with our obligatory fire, crafts, feasting and fun.
We would spend time out in the garden and local woods and fields and would use these walks to identify any birds that are returning after the winter and plants that have started to sprout.
We are lucky that we live near several farms and are able to walk to see the season’s lambs, even getting to watch a lamb or two be born over the years; as well as helping a friend who would hatch chicks at this time of year. These experiences were ideal opportunities to talk about the circle of life and turning of the year and how we all fit together in the grand scheme of things.
Our traditions for the Equinox are relatively run of the mill, we blow eggs to decorate the shells and cook with the middles, (egg pizza, or quiche, was always a firm favourite and an excellent way of getting hidden veg into the kids), we would put spring flowers on our altar and all our other crafts would have a theme of re-emergence and life.
Blending our celebrations with those of our wider family, we would exchange Easter eggs and eat too much chocolate, which I understand I a fairly universal tradition!
Deputy Manager, Children & Families Team