The May Full Moon is tonight and you have your pick of many names for it. It has been called the Hare Moon, Merry or Dyad Moon, Fright Moon, Flower Moon, Frogs Return Moon, Thrimilcmonath (Thrice-Milk Month), Sproutkale, Winnemonoth (Joy Month), Planting Moon, and Moon When the Ponies Shed.
This is the third full moon after the March equinox and the Moon is at its lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth for this month. A newer term for the event is “supermoon.”
Several Native American tribes have called this the Corn Planting Full Moon. The Cherokee people also referred to this as the Moon When Leaves Are Green, Moon To Plant or Moon When the Ponies Shed. This was the time for planting corn, beans, squashes, tomatoes, potatoes, yams and sunflowers, but corn held the highest place and traditionally held at this time was the “Corn Dance”.
In past years, I have written about it as the Buddha Full Moon when it occurred on May 17 which is known as the Buddha-Wesak Festival. It is said that Buddha was born, died and received enlightenment on the Full Moon in Scorpio and many followers consider this the highest spiritual day of the year.
I have also given it my own name of the Moon of the Horseshoe Crabs because this is usually the time when those ancient crabs do their spawning (peaking a few days before and after the May and June new and full moons). That is an event that occurs not far from Paradelle, on the Delaware Bay. This year it will be on beaches that were ravaged by Superstorm Sandy and have been reconstructed very recently to approximate the best conditions for them to lay eggs under the sand. The number of mating horseshoe crabs on the beach peaks at the night of full moon and at the time of high tide. The huge number of horseshoe crab eggs attracts many migrating birds to converge for this annual feast.