Why Is April's Full Moon Called a Pink Moon, and Is It Actually Pink?

A full moon that will be prominent in the sky this month is called the Pink Moon. It is the first of two supermoons that will be visible this year.

Full moons take place approximately once a month, when the Earth aligns between the sun and the moon. The so-called Pink Moon will be fully illuminated at 11:33 p.m. EDT on April 26 this year, appearing at its biggest as it rises just above the horizon.

That's according to The Old Farmer's Almanac, which noted anyone who hopes to catch a glimpse of the moon literally changing color would be left disappointed. That's right, despite its name, April's Pink Moon's hue won't look out of the ordinary.

"The Moon will be its usual golden color near the horizon and fade to a bright white as it glides overhead," the astronomical reference guide website explained.

The names of the monthly full moons can be traced back to Native American, Colonial American and European sources and each name was traditionally applied to the lunar month that it occurred, The Old Farmer's Almanac said in a website fact-sheet.

In North America, April's Pink Moon takes its name from a type of pink flower known as Phlox subulata—also called moss pink or moss phlox—that blooms in spring.

According to TimeandDate.com, other names for the April full moon include Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon, Hare Moon and Egg Moon. "It is also known as the Paschal Moon because it is used to calculate the date for Easter," its profile said.

As the website profile explained: "The first Sunday after the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday. The ancient Hare Moon and Egg Moon names are often referenced as potential reasons for the emergence of the modern Easter Bunny laying Easter eggs."

The Old Farmer's Almanac said the second supermoon of 2021 will take place on May 26, a month that also has a full moon named after emerging flowers.

The full moon in May is called the Flower Moon in reference to colorful wildflowers that are known to bloom in that period—including bluebells, sundrops, and violets.

The supermoons are believed to be approximately seven percent bigger and 15 percent brighter than a typical full moon, although it would be difficult to tell the difference for most people unless they were shown the moons side-by-side, the Almanac noted. The May moon is also known as the Corn Planting Moon, Milk Moon and Hare Moon.

April supermoon
A full 'Super moon', partially obscured by clouds, is seen rising in Outback Australia on April 08, 2020 in Louth, Australia. Officially known as the perigee-syzygy Moon, the 'super pink moon' is the largest full moon for 2020. Mark Evans//Getty Images