The April Full Moon

Tonight, the April Full Moon, often called the Full Pink Moon, appeared at 12:34 AM EDT or 4:34 AM UTC. This is the first Full Moon of the Spring 2023 season and the first after the spring equinox 2023. This Full Moon is in Libra.

Though the common name is the Pink Moon from the moss pink (AKA wild ground phlox, mountain pinks, or wild blue phlox), which is one of the common early flowers of the spring, I see a lot of yellow, white, and purple now with crocuses, forsythia, and daffodils.

It is also a Full Moon that often coincides with Easter, Ramadan and Passover.

Pink Moon Weekend

Photo by Charmaine on

The April Full Moon is sometimes called the Pink Moon. The Moon will be full but it won’t be pink. The name comes from the proliferation of pink blossoms that appear this month in many places. Cherry blossoms in Washington DC – and even more of those beautiful trees in Newark, New Jersey – always get attention this month.

The Moon will look full Friday and Sunday but it reaches fullness on Saturday. This holiday and holy days weekend will have a Full Moon all weekend.

An alternate name for the April Moon is the Egg Moon. You can celebrate the Egg Moon and Pink Moon by dying some hard-boiled eggs pink as my grandmother used to do using beet juice. I don’t think of egg coloring as a purely Easter thing. Decorating eggs was done by the ancient Persians for the new year holiday Nowrooz on the spring equinox. At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in saltwater symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Cherry blossoms at Branch Brook Park, Newark, New Jersey

A Full Moon By Any Other Name

The Full Moon for April appears tomorrow night and is frequently called the Pink Moon. But it won’t look pink at all.  This will also be our first of two “supermoons” for the year. But it won’t look supersized.

The supermoon term has rather recently been used to describe the astronomical phenomenon when the distance between the Moon and Earth is at its closest. In general terms, supermoons are 15% brighter and 7% bigger than regular full moons, but with the naked eye it won’t really look any bigger or brighter than it did last month if you saw it on a clear, dark night at the right time.

And not to be a lunar downer but the Pink Moon name came not frm the Moon’s color but what was blooming on Earth when this particular month showed a Full Moon.  If it has any color, it’s probably from lighting in the atmosphere from clouds or pollution.

The name had been used by some American Indian tribes for a very long time and it became popularized in the 1930s when the Old Farmer’s Almanac decided to include those  Native American names of the lunar months. It was literally the Full Moon When Pink Wildflowers Bloom, especially Phlox subulata. It is a common wildflower also known as moss pink and it is an early spring flower that grows across the eastern and central parts of North America.

phlox field
A field of pink, white and blue phlox    Photo: PxHere

Now, the plant is cultivated and you find it in many gardens as a ground cover. I see it called creeping phlox, moss phlox, moss pink, mountain phlox and my mother always called it mountain pinks. It covered our front rock garden when I was a child in pink, purple/blue and white and some of those plants traveled with me to my own home garden. As of today, mine are not blooming with this Full Moon, but I see them blooming in our area.

The Full Moon will be visible after the sunset but will be at peak illumination in the late evening. As always, it will look to the eye as “full” tonight and still on Tuesday.

It may not be quite a blooming spring in your backyard. The Algonquin people called this the Breaking Ice Moon. The Dakota referred to it as the Moon When the Streams Are Again Navigable. Obviously, those tribes were north of blooming moss pinks.

The Oglala call it the Moon of the Red Grass Appearing while for the Tlingit people, it’s the Budding Moon of Plants and Shrubs.

Many peoples called the May Full Moon the Flower Moon.

As I keep track of bloom dates in my own area year to year, I know that the dates change. Today, my garden and those of neighbors are full of fading daffodils and lots of tulips and magnolias and other flowering trees are blooming and dropping blossoms all around. Next year’s April Full Moon might not be exactly the same in the garden, but it will be close.

If you are more tuned in to wildlife than plants, you might prefer the names used by other tribes. How about the Frog Moon of the Cree or the Moon When the Ducks Come Back from the Lakota tradition? Do they fit in your microclimate?

One name that I had to research is from the Anishinaabe people. The Anishinabe Indian tribes of Canada were well-known for their birchbark canoes. Their April Full moon is known as the Sucker Moon. That name comes from a legend that during this time of the year, the suckerfish returns to lakes and rivers from the spirit world to purify water and aquatic animals.

The thing that attracts me to write about the Full Moon every month is that the names mean that people see a connection with nature. and with the Earth, heavens, and their own part of the planet.

The Pink Spring Supermoon

pinkish moon

You’ll be hearing that this month’s Full Moon is a supermoon. Some people call the April Full Moon a Pink Moon. How super and how pink will it be?

I suppose it depends on how you imagine a supermoon to be but because the Full Moon tonight (April 7) coincides with the moon’s perigee (closest point in the Moon’s monthly orbit to Earth), it’s “super.” Lunar perigee occurs Tuesday at 2:08 p.m. EST, and the peak of the Moon’s fullness is at 10:35 p.m. EST. ’s

Supermoons (that’s not an astronomy term) appear about 7 percent bigger and 15 percent brighter than regular full moons. That might not even be observable to you, but any clear view of the Full Moon is pretty cool.

Will it really look pink? Not really. Light does play tricks on our eyes and sometimes the Moon does look more red/pink or orange, but you’re likely to see the spectacular but regular slightly golden-white glow.

The Pink Moon name comes not from something happening in space but something happening on Earth. For some people in some places, this time of spring is when the eastern and central North American wildflower (Phlox subulata) blooms.

pink phlox

The plant is native to the USA and is widely cultivated. This evergreen perennial makes mats or cushions of hairy, linear leaves with small, five-petaled flowers.  The plant’s common names are mountain or creeping phlox, moss pink or just “pinks” and my mom always called it “mountain pinks.’ I still have plants I took from my childhood home’s rock garden that bloom here in Paradelle.

Though we call them and the Full Moon “pink,” the flowers can be rose, mauve, blue, white, or pink and might bloom anytime from early spring through early summer. It is cultivated as a spreading groundcover and can create a spectacular display when t covers a wide area like a flower carpet.

This Full Moon is also known as the Paschal Moon. “Paschal” means “of or relating to Easter” The timing of its fullness helps the Catholic Church set the date for Easter.

In 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.  This year, the vernal equinox was a bit early (March 19) and Easter is strongly associated with early spring “rebirth” in nature.

This is the closest to Earth Full Moon of the year. It is also sandwiched between two other supermoons in March and May, so be sure to look up and notice these three supermoons of spring.

Follow the advice of Stephen Hawking, “Look up at the stars, not down at your feet.”

Your Right to Be Forgotten

   The Past (forgotten-swallowed) by Alfred Kubin, 1901, via, Public Domain

I don’t think the vast majority of us want to be forgotten.

We do a lot of things to try to be remembered: take photos; post things on the Internet; have a headstone with our name. But there is this idea that what we do online never goes away, and some people would like that part of their life to be forgotten.

The Internet is forever. Maybe. Many people have posted things they regret. They delete it but somehow it still exists. Celebrities and politicians have learned that by the time you delete that stupid tweet the damage is done and other people have already copied and taken screenshots of it.

For younger people who have grown up with the internet and social media, the possibility of stupid/embarrassing/incriminating content is much higher since the filters in their brains had not matured.

A friend who deleted her Facebook profile recently discovered that friends were getting friend requests from her and that in a search her Facebook profile link still shows up.

Plus, there is “public information” about you online: phone numbers, addresses where you have lived and currently live, that DUI you got, and that political candidate donation you made.

Do we have a right to be forgotten online?

The “right to be forgotten” is something that is taken more seriously outside the U.S. It has been put into practice in the European Union.

It’s not an easy issue to decide. Your first thought might be that, of course, we should have the right to delete our own posts online. And what about content about us posted by others? There are immediate collisions between the right to freedom of expression and how it crosses with the right to privacy. Do you want politicians to be able to scrub their online history of things they said and regret,  or views they once had and have altered? Would a right to be forgotten diminish the quality of the Internet through censorship and revisionist history?

That is the focus of a Radiolab episode that looks at a group of journalists who are experimenting with being forgotten. They are unpublishing content – articles, photographs, names, entire articles – on a monthly basis.

As the Radiolab website says, this is a story about “time and memory; mistakes and second chances; and society as we know it.”

The April Full Fish Moon

This morning at 7:12 A.M., the Moon will go “full” and, of course, it will still look quite full tonight.

The Cherokee word for the Full Moon at this time was Kawohni (duck) as in “Moon when the ducks return.”  Some American Indians called this the Wildcat Moon. The European wildcat and the Asian wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata) are different animals from what Americans would encounter and the term was usually given as a nickname to the lynx and bobcat. These are not animals that hibernate in winter, but they are more likely to be seen in warmer months. Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are very solitary animals during the winter months, but in early January or February, adult male bobcats begin searching for females, though pregnant females can be seen throughout the year.

Most of the Full Moon names for this spring season Moon reference nature. The Dakotah Sioux called this the Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation. Colonists had names like Seed Moon, Pink Moon, and Sprouting Grass Moon.

In some years, we have an Egg Moon. When there is a Full Moon before Easter, it can be called the Egg Moon. This month’s Full Moon just qualifies by occurring two days before Easter. That naming comes from several nature and religious traditions. In nature, hens begin laying more eggs with longer days, and many wild bird species also lay their eggs now. Even fish spawn now and deposit their eggs. Eggs have long been a symbol of spring, regeneration, and rebirth.

In Celtic tradition, this is the Growing Moon, which could refer to nature or to ourselves.

American shad – via Wikimedia

I’m thinking of this Full Moon as the Fish Moon. Here in Paradelle, trout season opened this month, but that is a fish event that is man-made. Spring time, and perhaps right now in your area, is when bass come out and start feeding after a long, lazy winter. Frogs emerge and along with the worms of last month’s Worm Moon, they are both tasty treats for bass. And in Paradelle, this is the time when shad swim upstream to spawn.

Herring and hickory shad spawning. They are anadromous fish, meaning they migrate from the ocean to freshwater streams each spring to spawn (release or deposit eggs).

Although it was said that in spring a young man’s fancy turns to love, humans have no spawning season. But we do need to plant in the spring, whether because it is our job to provide food, or we just feel some inner need to make things grow.

There is planting folklore concerning the New Moon and Full Moons of spring that some still follow, although it doesn’t have scientific backing.

Root crops, such as carrots, radishes etc., are said to grow better when planted during the days between the waning moon that comes after the Full Moon, until the New Moon.

Above-ground crops, like tomatoes, corn and pepper, should be planted during the waxing moon phase from the New Moon until the next Full Moon. Those times work pretty well in my neighborhood.