Is There a "Full Pink Moon" in April?

Full Pink Moon
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According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, "Full Pink Moon" is indeed one of the traditional Native American names for any full moon that occurs in April. Early Native Americans didn't use calendars (in the European sense of the world), relying instead on observations of seasonal changes, phases of the moon and such to mark the passage of time through the course of the year. Giving these celestial events names and associating them with imagery made it easier to remember and keep track of them.

January was known as the "Full Wolf Moon" by the Algonquin tribes of what is now New England, according to the almanac. February was the "Full Snow Moon." March was the "Full Worm Moon." May was the "Full Flower Moon," and so on.

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Recent Full Pink Moons: One occurred April 22, 2016. Unlike the previous two years, it did not coincide with a lunar eclipse.

A "Full Pink Moon" occurred on April 4, 2015, coinciding for the second year in a row with a total lunar eclipse (aka "Blood Moon," see explanation below).

Full Pink Moon

You may see a version of this circulating on social media around the time of a "pink moon".

Lest there be any confusion, "Full Pink Moon" does not refer to a full moon that is literally pink in color (no more than a "Blue Moon" refers to a full moon that actually looks blue). It was inspired, the almanac says, by the springtime bloom of the moss pink flower (Phlox subulata), commonly found in the central and eastern United States.

Blood Moon

A Total Lunar Eclipse Spawns Blood Supermoon
Image was created as a digital composite) Two images show the moon appearing as a 'supermoon' at midnight (L) and a red-tinged 'blood moon' as an optical effect of a total lunar eclipse visible at 3.45am (R) on September 28, 2015 in Glastonbury, England. Tonight's supermoon - so called because it is the closest full moon to the Earth this year - is particularly rare as it coincides with a lunar eclipse, a combination that has not happened since 1982 and won't happen again until 2033. Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Coincidentally, a total lunar eclipse also occurred during the full moons of April 15, 2014 and April 4, 2015, which meant that for some observers the moon actually took on a dull red or rusty hue as the earth's shadow passed across its face (which is why a total lunar eclipse is sometimes referred to as a "Blood Moon"). So, while we wouldn't normally expect a Pink Moon to look different from any other full moon, color-wise, for two years in a row the occurrence promised to deliver a special treat for the eye — not exactly a bright pink glow, mind you, but almost!

The Pink Moons of 2014 and 2015 also coincided with what is known as the "Paschal Full Moon,"  defined in Christian ecclesiastical tradition as the first full moon after March 20, or the vernal equinox. Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon. 

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