Ostara is celebrated on March 21st. The name Ostara was
originally derived from Eostre, the Goddess of Spring, and is celebrated at the
Vernal Equinox. It is believed that Ostara was introduced to the Celtic world
by the Saxons around the year 600 CE to mark the official beginning of Spring. The Christians absorbed the traditions of
Ostara and called it Easter.
Ostara is where the present day traditions of egg decorating
and egg hunts originated. With most animals giving birth at this time, it is
easy to see from where the reverence was derived. The most popular food is Hot Cross Buns,
originally a cake with the crescent moon symbol of the Goddess. I think this is a fantastic food at this time
of the year, as its very design represents the counterpoint of the sun and
earth – united.
Here is a lovely recipe that I found today. The page also included a recipe
which has been adapted to bread machines.
HOT CROSS BUNS
This recipe will make 2 1/2 dozen
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup dried currents
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 recipe icing (below)
- Have the water and milk at 110-115 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl,
dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
- Add the warm milk sugar, butter, vanilla,
salt, nutmeg, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth.
- Add the eggs, one at
a time, beating the mixture well after each addition. Stir in the dried fruit
and enough flour to make a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6
to 8 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl and turn over to grease the top. Cover
with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in
size (about 1 hour).
- Punch the dough down and shape into 30 balls. Place on greased baking
sheets. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross (or X) on the top of each roll.
- Cover again and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).
- Beat the water
and egg yolk together and brush over the rolls. Bake at 375-degrees F. for 12
to 15 minutes.
- Cool on wire racks.
- Drizzle icing over the top of each roll
following the lines of the cut cross.
Combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 4 teaspoons milk or cream, a dash
of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Adjust sugar and
milk to make a mixture which flows easily.