The Full Moon comes in many shapes, sizes … and colors? This April, we’ll explore the origins of the Full Pink Moon, and take a look at the smallest Full Moon of the year, as the Earth and Moon move to their furthest points from each other, a “mini” Pink Moon, if you will.
Every April, the Full Pink Moon rises in the night sky, but that doesn’t mean it actually changes colors. Much like the Blue Moon, the Pink Moon refers to something other than the Moon’s hue. As with other Full Moon names we’ve explored this year, the Pink moniker refers to the first flowers of spring, the wild ground phlox.
According to our friends at The Old Farmer’s Almanac, many Full Moon names originated with different Native American tribes, who used the Moon to mark the seasons.
The early Native Americans did not record time by using the months of the Julian or Gregorian calendar. Many tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, although there was much variability. For some tribes, the year contained 4 seasons and started at a certain season, such as spring or fall. Others counted 5 seasons to a year. Some tribes defined a year as 12 Moons, while others assigned it 13. Certain tribes that used the lunar calendar added an extra Moon every few years, to keep it in sync with the seasons.
Each tribe that did name the full Moons (and/or lunar months) had its own naming preferences. Some would use 12 names for the year while others might use 5, 6, or 7; also, certain names might change the next year. A full Moon name used by one tribe might differ from one used by another tribe for the same time period, or be the same name but represent a different time period. The name itself was often a description relating to a particular activity/event that usually occurred during that time in their location.
Janice Stillman, Editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will be joining us live on the air to talk all about the Mini Pink Moon. She’ll offer insights into why the Moon was given that name, and which Native American tribes came to know the April Moon by that name. She’ll also bring us up to speed on everything you need to know about some other late April events, including Earth Day.
Join us on April 21st as we take a look through our live telescopes at the Full Pink Moon.