Night of the Planter’s Moon

In past years, I have written about this month’s full Moon as the Pink Moon and the Egg Moon. This year I chose the name that American Colonist’s might have used – the Planter’s Moon.

The Colonists focused more on their own use of nature in marking the seasons than Native Americans and the Ancients who generally looked to signs from the heavens or nature to name the moons.

April marks the last melting snow and the rain and melt water that along with warmer days made it the time to prepare fields for planting. In earlier times, the full Moon allowed farmers to work later into the night.

A piece of planting folklore that is still followed by some says to plant root crops, such as carrots, radishes etc., during the days between the waning moon that comes after the full moon, until the new moon. Your above-ground crops (barring a late frost in your area) should be planted during the waxing moon. That is the phase so named because the moon thickens like the wax drippings of a candle, and goes from the new moon until the next full moon.

Though these ideas are not really “scientific,” the thinking was that the moon’s pull on the tides naturally pulls at all things that contain water. So, not only the ocean, but our blood, and the water in plants and seeds. Those green leafy plants will reach towards the moon during the waxing phase, and those root crops will be pushing their energy down, away from the moon, during its waning phase.

The Roman festival of Cerealia celebrated the return of Proserpina to the Earth and grains goddess Ceres. Yes, we get our word “cereal” from the name Ceres and this was the time for planting grain. (Ceres is comparable to the Greek goddess Demeter.)

The April Moon is also called the Chaste Moon, Growing Moon, Hare Moon, Maiden Moon, Grass Moon, Rain Moon, Growing Moon, Wind Moon, Seed Moon, Budding Trees Moon, Eastermonath (Eoster Month), Ostarmanoth, and Green Grass Moon.

The Pink Moon refers to the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the early common flowers of the the United States. There a number of other nature signs that give us moon names, such as Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon (for fish, like shad, that now move upstream) and Waking or Awakening Moon (for the end of hibernation).

One Medieval name was Seed Moon, and a Celtic name was the Growing Moon. In the Chinese moon sequence, this is the Peony Moon.

The Dakotah Sioux called this the Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation (that’s how we translate it anyway) and the Choctaw called this the Wildcat Moon, while the Cherokee called it the Flower Moon.

This year we do have an April Egg Moon, because it is the full moon before Easter, which does not occur every year. Though we often think of “Easter eggs,” the eggs came before Easter. Not only do domesticated hens start laying more eggs with longer days, but many bird species also lay their eggs now, and eggs have long been a symbol of spring, regeneration, rebirth.

We know that the ancient Persians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem. The pre-Christian Saxons had a spring goddess called Eostre, whose feast was held on the Equinox. Eostre’s totem animal was the spring hare (rabbit), and so it is often said that this connection with eggs and hares and the seasonal rebirth of the land was adapted into the Christian Easter. The Christian holiday of Easter sometimes falls this month, so the Anglo-Saxons and Franks called it Easter Month.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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