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“Pink Moon” Rises Full Over Riverbank
The moon rises full on Saturday evening, named the ‘Pink Moon’ according to Poor Richard’s Almanac, the first full one of the spring season. Although it can happen on many days following the spring equinox, this year, the full moon rose on the night before the celebration of Easter. Ric McGinnis/The News

The holiday weekend all over the northern hemisphere, and here in Riverbank, saw a seasonal phenomenon that happens once a year coincide with the Easter celebration.

The full ‘Pink Moon’ is the first full moon of the spring season, the first after the spring equinox, which this year was March 20.

The name doesn’t really refer to the color of the moon, according to Poor Richard’s Almanac. In reality, it’s not quite as mystical or awe-inspiring.

Actually, “April’s full moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata—commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox—which also went by the name ‘moss pink.’

Thanks to this seasonal association, this moon came to be called the Full ‘Pink’ Moon.”


Relation to Easter

In addition, April’s first full moon is the ‘Paschal’ Full Moon — an important moon to those who celebrate Easter, since Easter’s date depends on the date of the Paschal Full Moon.

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon (i.e., the first full moon of spring), which means that it was celebrated this year on Sunday.


Other April Moon Names

For April moon names, references to spring abound, according to the Almanac.

“Among them are Breaking Ice Moon (Algonquin) and Moon When the Streams Are Again Navigable (Dakota) reference the melting ice and increased mobility of the early spring season, while Budding Moon of Plants and Shrubs (Tlingit) and Moon of the Red Grass Appearing (Oglala) speak to the plant growth that will soon kick into high gear.”

Also, states the Almanac: “Other names refer to the reappearance of certain animals, including Moon When the Ducks Come Back (Lakota), Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs (Dakota), and Frog Moon (Cree).

“Along the same vein, Sucker Moon (Anishinaabe) notes the time to harvest sucker fish, which return to streams or lake shallows to spawn. According to legend, now is the time when this fish comes back from the spirit world to purify bodies of water and the creatures living in them.”


Other Full Moons Coming

Ahead of us, monthly full moons have colorful names, too.

May 16 will bring the Flower Moon, and June 14, the Strawberry Moon. A month later, mid-July, it’s the Buck Moon, then the Sturgeon Moon on Aug. 11.

Sept. 10 is the Harvest Moon, then the Hunter’s Moon on Oct. 9, the Beaver Moon on Nov. 8, and the Cold Moon, on Dec. 7, finishes out the year.