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Earlier this month, I was taking one of our puppies out for an evening stroll in our side yard and realized that a full moon had risen. It looked like it was suspended from the branches of some of our trees, hovering over the house.

I love moonlight. It is so gentle and soft – not at all like bright sunlight. On a clear night in the winter, it casts long shadows of tree trunks and branches across the snow. It’s almost magical.

The March full moon goes by several names, each with an interesting story, many grounded in Native American or Celtic traditions. Here are the ones I could find:

WORM MOON: The Worm Moon heralds a season of positive energy, fertile soil, and the return of earthworms to the surface of the earth. They begin to emerge from the soil as the weather starts getting warmer.

LENTEN MOON: So named by the Anglo-Saxons, the Lenten Moon comes from Germanic languages and means spring. The Lenten Moon also coincides with the Christian season of Lent, the weeks before Easter.

Native American tribes associated the March full moon with early spring and the awakening of the natural world,, and so it is also known as:

CROW MOON: For the return of ravens and crows

SNOW CRUST MOON: After the crust which forms on top of the snow as it melts during the day and re-freezes at night

SAP OR SUGAR MOON: For those weeks when the maple sap runs

More names for this last full moon of winter are

WIND MOON OR PLOUGH MOON: In Celtic tradition, the March full moon was when the cold winds of winter still blew across the fields. Yet, the time was drawing near for preparing the fields for planting.

CHASTE MOON: In Old English, this name referred to the purity of the spring season.

Though not this year, the March full moon can also be the PASCHAL MOON. It is the is the first full moon on or after March 21, and it is used to determine the date of Easter. and is used to determine the date of Easter. The dates for the Paschal Moon range from March 21 to April 18.

Every full moon every month has one or more names associated with it. You may have missed the Worm Moon this month, but stay tuned for April’s full moon on April 6th, known as the Pink Moon, the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.

- Nancy

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