Spring has sprung, with temperate temps finally arriving and flowers surging toward the sunlight in delight.
Into this scene of rebirth pops this month’s full moon, which hits that point at exactly 11:42 p.m. EDT on May 3.
For once it’s not a super moon, but it will be stunning and beautiful for the entire night, as Earthsky.org points out.
“At the vicinity of full moon, the moon resides pretty much opposite the sun in Earth’s sky,” says Earthsky.org. “So watch for the moon to rise in the east-southeast around sunset on May 3, climb highest up for the night around midnight and to sit low in the west-southwest before sunrise May 4.”
The highest point of its arc will be just after midnight, according to Astronomy.com.
“You can find it rising in the east around sunset and peaking in the south around 1 a.m. local daylight time,” Astronomy.com says.
As the second full moon after the spring equinox on Turtle Island, the full moon of May has been dubbed accordingly.
“In North America, we often call this particular full moon the Flower Moon, Milk Moon or Planting Moon,” says Earthsky.org.
American Indian cultures have those and other names for the May full moon, depending on latitude. The Comanche of the Southern Plains do indeed call it totsiyaa mua, or flower moon, according to the Western Washington State University Planetarium, while the Cherokee from the East Coast call it ansgvti, or planting moon. Closely related is the Anishnaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe, Great Lakes) epithet of waabigwani-giizis, or blossom moon. The Apache of the Southern Plains call it “season when the leaves are green,” the planetarium says, and the Shoshone of Great Basin, Nevada, Wyoming, call it buhisea'-mea', or budding moon.
Several tribes relate this full moon to ponies, as with the Arapaho of the Great Plains, which call this one the “when the ponies shed their shaggy hair” moon. The Sioux, too, call it “moon when the ponies shed.”
Other tribes key the name to a harvest season, as with the Passamoquoddy of Maine, who named this one Siqonomeq—alewive moon.
Of course, not every tribe named the full moon, and some decidedly opt out of naming. This holds true of the Zuni, who have dubbed the May full moon yachun kwa'shi'amme, no name.