Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 June 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

A strawberry moon

“A growing Moon and a flowing tide are lucky times to marry.”
From the Book of Moon Facts and Folklore

How often in my life, during my countless courting days, would I have sworn by the moon to the girl by my side and said, in all earnestness: yours is the light by which my spirit is born; you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars. This, in spite of the fact that, the most cheery, healthy, and open-air Englishman of them all, William Shakespeare, had cautioned us through his play

Be all that, as it is; and leave it, where it is. Let us get on with the moon.

Be it the snow moon, the pink moon, the flower moon, or the strawberry moon; each society has a name to describe the full moon that falls on different months: sometimes the name of the month determining the name of the full moon, as in our society; but often, the visible aspects of the full moon, giving it the name.


Whatever is the name, the moons character is such that it will not fight. It will attack no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others.

It keeps to its course, and by its very nature, gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature; and its power never diminishes.

Even when the moon looks like it is waning or waxing, it is actually never changing shape. Have you ever thought about it? In fact, “her antiquity precedes and survives succeeding generations.

Her nocturnal predominance, her dependence on earth as a satellite, her luminary reflection, her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning…,” is a constant. “Her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to, and aid delinquency…,” remains the same. “The tranquil inscrutability of her visage; her omens of tempest and of calm; the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence; the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence; her splendour, when visible; her attraction, when invisible,” will never change, whatever we may think of her. Quotations are from James Joyce’s Ulysses.


The moon may be a friend for the lonesome to talk to, but every one of us is like the moon; because like her, all of us hide a dark side, which we never show to anybody. In spite of it, and unlike us, the moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It is always there: watching, steadfast, knowing us in our bright and dark moments; and changing her face forever.

Every day it is a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light; the moon understands what it means to be human: uncertain, alone, cratered by imperfections.

Yet, unlike the moon, there are times when humans are superstitious about the moon. Superstitious people already consider Friday the 13th as an unlucky day; but they may be a little more on edge when a full moon falls on Friday the 13th as it did this month (though for us it was Thursday, actually the full moon peaked only at 1:00 a.m. on Friday).

The Full Moon happening on Friday is, described to be an extraordinary combination of the modern calendar and the lunar phases.


Yes, full moon happens about every 29 days, but how often does it fall on a Friday the 13th? The answer is, “not often”. So far this century, it has happened once, back on October 13, 2000 and according the experts, we will not see another Friday the 13th full moon until 2049. Think about it, the moon has to be full, fall on the 13th, and have both of those fall on a Friday.

Yet, despite many myths, the full moon does not actually embolden criminals, bring about births, or make people mad, studies show. While Friday the 13th superstitions may be well entrenched; there is nothing particularly special about a full moon falling on this date.

The currently used Full Moon names in the English language date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon: their names, applied to the entire month in which each occurred.

There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the tribes from New England to Lake Superior in the United States of America. European settlers, who came later, followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.

The June full moon is nicknamed the “Strawberry Moon,” a moniker that goes back to the Algonquin Native American tribe, according to the Farmer's Almanac. June is strawberry season, and the full moon would have traditionally coincided with the harvest.


The June full moon, in the western hemisphere, is frequently the one nearest to the summer solstice, which falls on June 21 this year.

Because of a neat bit of galactic geometry, this means the full moon on Friday was the lowest in the sky of any in 2014.

Here's how it works: The Earth rotates on a tilted axis; in June - summer in the Northern Hemisphere - the North Pole is tilted about 23.5 degrees toward the sun, while the South Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. On the solstice, the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. Full moons happen when Earth's satellite is opposite the sun; that is why viewers on Earth see the entire face of the moon illuminated.

Thus, when the full moon is directly opposite the sun when our host star appears at its highest point, the moon is at its lowest point with respect to the equator.

Hence, the winter full moons rise higher above the horizon than summer full moons.

We in Sri Lanka also live in the western hemisphere of the globe, although at the very base of it since we are near the equator but just above it.

Finally, contrary to myth, the full moon does not affect human behaviour or health.


For example, a 1985 review published in the journal Psychological Bulletin tracked hospital admissions, psychiatric disturbances, homicides, and other crime over several months and found no spike in any of those variables around the time of the full moon.

Alas, for heavily pregnant women, a 2001 study in the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society looked at about 70 million births in the United States and found no link between the phase of the moon and labor starting.

Hence, Ladies do not expect to finish your pregnancy just because the moon is full.

Studies have also shown that other phenomena, including seizures, crime and heart surgery outcomes, have no link to the full moon. Hence, without fear aim for the moon; who knows, if you miss, you may hit a star.

For views, reviews, encomiums, and brick-bats: [email protected]


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