In recent years, it has also led to moon names infiltrating pop culture, with April’s full moon dubbed the “Pink Moon” – here’s everything you need to know.
Is the April full moon tonight?
These timings mean that the moon will be most clearly visible overnight from 5 April, peaking just before sunrise – here is the full calendar of full moons this year:
- 6 January (11.07pm)
- 5 February (6.28pm)
- 7 March (12.40pm)
- 6 April (5.34am)
- 5 May (6.34pm)
- 4 June (4.41am)
- 3 July (12.38pm)
- 1 August (7.31pm)
- 31 August (2.35am)
- 29 September (10.57am)
- 28 October (9.24pm)
- 27 November (9.16am)
- 27 December (12.33am)
Why did names like ‘Pink Moon’ become a thing?
April’s full moon has come to be known as the “Pink Moon” in some quarters, as per the American Farmer’s Almanac, which seems to have become the gold standard for such matters.
According to the publication, its name is not a reference to the orb’s colour this month.
Instead, it explains, “the reality is not quite as mystical or awe-inspiring,” adding: “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 full Moon came to be called the ‘Pink’ Moon.”
Moon names like these, and their purported meanings, have gained increased traction in recent years, with the labels generally attributed to Indigenous American tribes.
They appear to have become more popular after the 2014 lunar eclipse – a phenomenon colloquially referred to a “blood moon” due to it causing the moon to have a reddish hue – ignited interest in such romanticised names.
There is no standardised Indigenous American calendar, according to Laura Redish, director and co-founder of Native Languages of the Americas, although Nasa says the names derive from the Algonquin tribe, part of a larger cultural linguistic group called Algonquian.
Others, such as the “wolf moon,” aren’t – the tribe apparently referred to January as “long moon month”.
According to Ms Redish, different tribes used different calendars, and a range of calendars seem to have been swiped for the popularly used names, while some of the popular monikers are essentially fabrications.
The Farmer’s Almanac says its names “come from a number of places, including Native American, colonial American and European sources”.