The full Moon April 2024 is a hopeful sign of spring, indicating the return of life and the resurgence of nature after winter’s dormancy. The April full Moon is often called the “Pink Moon,” but why? What other names does this first spring full Moon go by in different cultures?
Full Moon April 2024: Tuesday, April 23
Peak Illumination: 7:49 p.m. Eastern Time
Origin Of The Pink Moon Name
The name “Pink Moon” has long been associated with April’s full Moon as flowers begin to bloom, particularly moss pink or creeping ground phlox, which is one of the earliest and most widespread spring flowers. Creeping ground phlox thrives in sandy or rocky soils, and is often used as a ground cover. This perennial bloom is most often pink, but also has shades of purple and white. It is popular with butterflies, another welcome sign of spring in April.
In Asia, particularly China, this Moon is called the “Peony Moon” as it is the season when those native flowers flourish. Blush pink is the most common color for peonies, but they are also found in cream and white shades, as well as richer shades of pink – perfect as another name for the “Pink Moon.”
Growth-Related April Full Moon Names
Because spring is a season of rebirth and new growth, many names for April’s full Moon mark seasonal plant changes.
For example, additional growth-related names for the April full Moon are the “Moon of the Red Grass Appearing” by the Oglala tribe of the Dakotas, the “Budding Moon of Plants and Shrubs” of the Tlingit tribe of the Pacific Northwest, and the “Sprouting Grass Moon” used by a variety of tribes.
The Choctaw tribe of the Southeast US refers to the April full moon as the “Moon of Blackberry” when the berries begin to appear in that southern climate, while the Cherokee use the more general but very spring-appropriate “Flower Moon” name. The southwestern Apache tribe often uses the name “Moon of the Big Leaves” to indicate how trees are flourishing in April.
Growth-related names are also found in European cultures. The Celts in particular have several names for April’s full Moon, including “Budding Moon,” “New Shoots Moon,” “Seed Moon,” and “Growing Moon.”
When colonists began settling North America, similar though less colorful names were used to refer to the April full Moon. The most common is the “Planter’s Moon” to indicate that sowing seeds begins at the time of the April full Moon to ensure an adequate growing season. The Winnebago tribe of the Great Lakes region also use the name “Planting Corn Moon” to indicate the start of the growing season.
“Sugar Maker Moon” is another colonial name for the April full Moon, as it is the season of collecting sap and making maple sugar and syrup. Learn how to make maple sugar in your own backyard.
More Spring Names For The April Full Moon
Other spring-related names for April’s Moon include the “Fish Moon” – used by many tribes in the Pacific Northwest as an indication of fish spawning. Depending on the tribe, this may refer to either salmon or shad. The Anishinaabe tribe refers to the April full Moon as the “Sucker Moon” for the return of suckerfish.
Similarly, the name “Egg Moon” is often used in April due to the beginning of the nesting season for birds and waterfowl. The Cheyenne tribe calls this Moon “When the Geese Lay Eggs” and other tribes have similar names.
Many northern tribes don’t use growing terms for the April full Moon, as it is often too early in the season to depend on such signs in northern regions. Instead, names typically refer to the breaking of the season and the end of winter. The Arapaho of Colorado and Wyoming, for example, name the April Moon “Ice Breaking in the River” while the Algonquin of the northeast and eastern Canada use the similar name “Breaking Ice Moon.” The Dakota tribes often call this Moon the “Moon When the Streams are Navigable Again.”
The Lakota, or Teton Sioux, tribe has a more unique name for the April full Moon. This tribe is principally located in the Dakotas, where spring growth is late and game may be scarce even in April. The name “When Wives Crack Bones for Marrow Fat” is often used for the April full Moon to indicate the scarcity of food and how resourcefulness is necessary at the end of a long winter season.
Religious April Moon Names
In some cultures, the Moon’s name may be related to religious holidays as guided by the lunar calendar. The April full Moon is called the “Paschal Moon” if it is the first full Moon after the spring equinox in late March, as the date for Easter is set after that first full Moon. In Jewish tradition, the name is the “Passover Moon” and marks freedom from Egypt.
Neo-Pagan traditions call the April full Moon the “Awakening Moon” as spirits awaken after the calm and quiet of winter, bringing a sense of clarity, renewal, healing, and rejuvenation to the season.
Whatever it is called, the April full Moon is a time to rejoice at the changing seasons and the beauty of spring it ushers in!
Join The Discussion!
What is your favorite name for April’s full Moon?
What would you name it if you could?
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Melissa Mayntz is a writer who specializes in birds and birding, though her work spans a wide range—from folklore to healthy living. Her first book, Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds was published in 2020. Mayntz also writes for National Wildlife Magazine and The Spruce. Find her at MelissaMayntz.com.