April 2024 Pink Full Moon

The Pink full Moon of April occurs on April 23 at exactly 7:49PM EDT.  No, the Moon itself will not be pink in color.  The Pink Moon symbolizes springtime and new growth.  It was given the name “pink” after the herb moss pink, also called creeping phlox, a plant native to the eastern U.S. that spreads and begins to bloom in early spring.  When the Moon rises just above the horizon 24 minutes later at 8:14PM it will appear to be large, due to the Moon illusion, and golden in color.  Full Moon is an exact moment in time.  Before this moment in time the Moon is a waxing gibbous phase and after this moment it is a waning gibbous phase.  Near full Moon these phase changes are too small for eyes to see.  To our eyes the Moon will look full for three days from April 22 to 24.

Native American names for full Moons are rooted in their knowledge of the natural world and their observed changes to this world from month to month.  And while there are variations in Moon names from tribe to tribe there is a sense of consistency in describing the changing world around them. While April’s moon is widely known as the Pink Moon it has been given many springtime inspired names.   Some names referenced the melting ice such as the Dakota name When the Streams are Again Navigable and the Arapaho name Moon Where Ice Breaks in the River.  Other names like the Oglala name Moon of the Red Grass Appearing and the Sioux name Budding Moon refer to the new plant growth occurring all around them. The Abenaki name Sugar Maker Moon and the Ojibwe name Sugarbush Moon refer to the maple sap that begins flowing this time of year.  And there are names that refer to animals that return this time of year such as the Lakota name Moon When the Ducks Come Back and the Cree Frog Moon.  The Anishinaabe call this Moon the Sucker Moon to honor the sucker fish that returns this time of year to streams and lakes to spawn.  Their legend is these fish come back from the spirit world to purify the bodies of water and all the creatures living in them.  This is just a small sample of the many names for this springtime Moon.

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