At least some of the mystery has been revealed. I just read Pagan Soccer Mom's post on why she doesn't celebrate the Sabbaths.
"I thought that the sabbats just had to be celebrated in full regalia - circles and calling all the quarters, rituals galore! Buuuut, as I mellowed out and really got to the core of my beliefs, I figured out that it's not necessary."
Of course it's not necessary. But do you really think it's a great message to send your children and other Pagans that the world turns around and seasons follow each other, and that's nothing to bother about for a Pagan? That the miracle of Equinoxes is not a miracle. It's just a date like any other. Who cares? Not Pagan Soccer Mom.
Of course it's not NECESSARY, but it's PART OF BEING A PAGAN. If WE don't celebrate our Sabbaths, who does? Leave it to Christians, so that they can steal them and infuse the old traditions with their horrible anti-life messages?
Of course it's not necessary, but I have noticed that I feel better, spiritually, when I do honor the Holidays. Celebrating "in a big way", lifting these 8 days apart from the rest of the year, doing more than "cooking a really nice, season appropriate dinner", "doing a simple candle ceremony" and "TRYING to do some sort of activity".
Frankly, if one cooks ONLY for Sabbaths a "really nice, season appropriate dinner", it's no wonder we don't even KNOW what is eating season appropriately nor know how to cook simple and quick, yet "really nice and season appropriate" dinners.
Cooking is not rocket science nor brain surgery. Not everyone might be a GREAT cook, but everyone can be a good cook.
As we MUST eat, why not make eating and preparing of the food into a Holy Sacrament. Our Mother gives Her BODY to us to feed us, She has made this lovely, beautiful, fertile world just to feed us - physically and spiritually. Every morcel you put in your food should be laced with gratitude and prayer.
After the long and cold wintertime it's finally time for the snow to melt and new growth replace it. It's like the liberation of the Jews from Egypt! Everyone who gardens waits eagerly for the Spring to arrive to be able to get back to their garden. In just a couple of months all this we are living in will be gone. Is that not something to celebrate "in a big way"?
Even though it was lovely that it snowed, the scarce light reflecting from the icy surface doesn't replace the wonderful sunlight streaming in through the windows. Have a day when you wash the windows and decorate them and the windowsills in a ceremonious way, and enjoy the returning light.
It's only now you can SEE how the light returns, faster every day that goes, the sun rises earlier and earlier...
Can you smell the melting snow in the air? Take a walk in the forest until you can smell it.
Listen to the birds. Soon there will be the First Butterfly of the Summer. One day you'll find a winter bug buzzing on your window. Welcome these signs of returning life and celebrate it.
"Something that has always frustrated me... ...[is] when someone thinks that if they miss celebrating on the actual sabbat day, that they've just missed out."
Frankly, they just did. Do you know that you can balance an egg on the ground on the exact moment of Equinox? Not a minute earlier or later. (Perhaps this is just a myth, I haven't tried it out yet, but there are some witches who say they have actually done this and it's not a myth.) If there is such magic in the air on that specific day, what other magic is in the air?
Frankly, give it a decade and see the difference in keeping the specific days and just randomly waving in that general direction. And do it properly. It's not enough to repeat the correspondences and symbolism like a parrot, THINK about what the day really means. Tune into Mother's breathing and FEEL how she gets up and starts moving... how Her heartbeat gets quicker and stronger...
"The sabbat marks the start of the season."
That depends totally on the Sabbath. Four of them mark the start AND the end of a season, but four, Ostara included, mark the height of the season.
Also, all the preparation work before and landing after are not part of the actual ceremony, but PREPARING FOR IT or LANDING FROM IT. Sure, life sometimes makes it harder to celebrate, and sometimes we have to celebrate a day or two earlier or later, but that doesn't mean the actual Sabbath day isn't important. Celebrating Ostara "sometime in March, or perhaps April" is stealing some of the importance of the day. It is saying that you put all kinds of other things before the Holy Day you are to keep.
Of course we should be planning for a big family feast, making holiday cookies "days, if not weeks" before Ostara, decorating the house and doing things with the children,your friends or alone, like preparing the Holiday cards and making simple, cheap ornaments, and I agree with her in that this happens so sadly seldom among Pagans today. This is why I'm trying to chance this fact.
I want "12 days of Ostara", a feast for "carrying out the Ostara" on 13th day;
I want Ostara movies and Ostara carols;
I want Ostara food and scents that take you instantly back at your childhood Ostaras;
I want Ostara traditions that your children and grand-children will carry on to generations come;
I want us Pagans to honor Ostara and other Sabbaths as they should be honored.
Goddess marked the days and She keeps Her part of the deal. Is it too much to ask that we FIND time to do ours?