Friday, April 10, 2009

Pink Moon

Yesterday was the April full moon, known by early American settlers as the Full Pink Moon because of the masses of wild pink phlox blossoms blooming low to the ground at this time of the year. Vancouver is pink too, with cherry and plum blossoms, the smaller magnolias, the red-flowering currants, camellias, and even some of the hyacinths creating a spectrum of all shades of petal pink.

The Anishnaabe call the April moon the Broken Snowshoe Moon. I can only speculate that this was the time of year that you had to watch for rocks poking through the snow that might break your snowshoes after a long winter of use. The Northern Arapaho call it Ice Breaking in the River and the Central Shoshoni named it Melting Moon. Many people refer to April's full moon as the Budding Moon, or refer to the migration and breeding of geese depending how far north or south the tribe lived. The Cheyenne call it The Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs. Some coastal tribes call it the Full Fish Moon because the shad are spawning at this time. I love it when the names become very specifically related to tasks in the cultural/seasonal rounds. The Kalapuya call it the Time for Pounding Camas, and the Lakota called it The Moon When the Wife had to Crack Bones for Marrow Fat. The Winnibego are in a warm enough climate that they can call it The Planting Corn Moon. It's fascinating to see a phenological calendar of spring emerge from these poetic names.

What were you doing on the Pink Moon? Were you wandering the streets of Vancouver buying Easter treats and inhaling the sweet fragrance of plum blossoms?

Happy Birthday to N!

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