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.
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.
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.
The April 2015 Full Moon occurs on the 4th at 12:05 UTC. It comes the day before Easter this year.
The Egg Moon is the name often given to the Full Moon before Easter, so this next Full Moon barely qualifies. That name is connected to the longer days encouraging hens to lay more eggs. That idea doesn’t hold true for the more common factory farms that artificially create longer days yearly. But we also associate this spring time with wild birds creating nests for their eggs. You may have noticed birds investigating places around your home for nesting spots and gathering materials. I have discouraged sparrows from building nests in my retractable awning for the past two weeks.
The April full moon is also called the Full 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. Though gardeners plant it, it is also a spring wildflower. This is a slightly fragrant, perennial, five-petaled flower that blooms profusely and grows like a ground cover in the woodland shade. In gardens, it is often used as an underplanting for larger, summer-blooming plants. The plant can be colored rose, mauve, blue, white, or pink in late spring to early summer.
There are other seasonal names for this Full Moon. The Full Sprouting Grass Moon, Seed Moon, and New World colonists’ Planter’s Moon all come from the season.
You can celebrate the Egg Moon and the Pink Moon by dying hard-boiled eggs pink. My grandmother only made pink eggs (using beet juice) and brownish-yellow eggs (using onion skins). No Easter egg kits for her.
Coloring and painting eggs are something the ancient Persians did for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. There are images on the walls of Persepolis showing people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king.
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 celebrated the spring goddess called Eostre’s feast day on the Vernal Equinox in March. Her special animal was the spring hare (rabbit) and Eostre’s association with eggs and hares was incorporated into the Christian holiday of Easter.
The March Full Moon (march 5, this year) goes by many names including Windy Moon, Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Oak Moon, Storm Moon, Seed Moon, Maple Moon and Fish Moon. As with the other months, most names are derived from observations of nature and animals in the area.
One name comes from religion: the Lenten Moon. Early American Christian settlers, often used this name for it. In some Christian denominations, Lent is the forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible he endured temptation by Satan.
The religious intention of Lent is preparation not only for the events linked to the Passion of Christ and Easter. many Christians associate the season with fasting or giving up something we desire. That practice had a practical purpose in times when the end of winter was a time of sparse supplies anyway.
Many of the Christian holidays were timed to coincide and co-opt pagan holidays. For example, the Resurrection of Jesus is connected to pagan spring seasonal celebrations.
The computation of when Easter falls is based on the old lunar calendar. In 725, Bede wrote, “The Sunday following the full Moon which falls on or after the equinox will give the lawful Easter.” But that rule does not reflect the actual ecclesiastical rules precisely. For example, the astronomical equinox is a natural astronomical phenomenon, which can fall on 19, 20 or 21 March, while the ecclesiastical date is fixed by convention on 21 March.
The full moon before Easter is often known as the Egg Moon which has a seasonal connection in the laying of eggs by birds and also is carried over to Easter celebrations in the secular sense.
The Lenten Moon is considered to be the last moon of the winter season. Of course, this is all confused by the fact that Easter changes year to year – sometimes in March, sometimes in April. For 2015, Easter is later, falling on April 5.
Spring arrives this year on March 20.
The March Full Moon also comes early this year – also on the fifth day – and so it is unlikely to feel like the end of winter for most people in northern climes.
The Egg Dance by Pieter_Aertsen, Public Domain, Link
That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate anyway. An egg dance is a traditional Easter game in which eggs are laid on the ground and the goal is to dance among them without damaging them. As a pagan symbol of the rebirth of the Earth in spring, it was adopted by early Christians. The version of egg dancing depicted in the painting by Pieter Aertsen has participants rolling an egg out of a bowl while keeping within a circle drawn by chalk and then flipping the bowl to cover the egg. This had to be done with the feet without touching the other objects placed on the floor.