JACKSON, Wyo. — The April full moon is on the rise! The moon will reach its fullest today at 12:57 p.m. according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
April’s full moon is known as the Pink Moon and the Paschal Full Moon—the first full moon of the spring season which began on March 20 with the spring equinox. The Paschal Moon dictates the date of Easter. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. Because the full moon falls on a Saturday, Easter is the following day, Sunday April 17.
While it’s referred to as the Pink Moon, the name has nothing to do with the color of the moon. The full moon corresponds with the early springtime blooms of the wildflower, Phlox subulata, native to eastern North America. Also called the creeping phlox or moss phlox, the plant blooms vibrantly pink.
Other historical names for April’s full moon speak to the changing of seasons spring brings. 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.
Some 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).
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. This name has also been applied to the February Moon, to honor the sacrifice of the sucker fish in order to feed the Anishinaabe peoples, traditionally helping them to survive the winter.