'Worm moon' foretells start of spring

'Worm moon' foretells start of spring


ROCK ISLAND -- As a full moon hung low in the sky east of the Quad City Botanical Center, a gathering congregated Thursday in the center's Sun Room to learn about Native Americans through traditional song and stories.

Specifically, they learned about the phenomenon known to most tribes as the "Full Worm Moon," which marks the hopeful beginning of spring, according to storyteller Larry Lockwood, of the Northern Cheyenne Nation.

"It's probably one of the best full moons that we can have," Mr. Lockwood told about two dozen children, parents and family members. 

Wrapped in colorful dance regalia, Mr. Lockwood explained the March full moon gets its name because it coincides with the warming of the frozen earth and the emergence of worms.

"The Full Worm Moon — I love it!" he enthused. "It's the last full moon of winter!"

Younger audience members also got to learn a bit about drumming Thursday night, as Mr. Lockwood led a series of intertribal songs. His animated accounts of outlandish tales surrounding the antics of a prankster raven succeeded in riling laughter from older audience members as well.

Veronica Williams and her 5-year-old daughter, Dayja, both of Rock Island, were pleased with the insights into Native American culture.

"I've never been to one of these, but I've always wanted to," said Ms. Williams, who is part Native American. She said she wanted to explore the history and traditions in a way her daughter also would enjoy.

"She thought it was great," Ms. Williams said. "She thought it was hilarious."

Thursday's program was the first of the Lunar Traditions series at the botanical center that will explore the meaning behind full moons each month. Each has a different meaning to Native Americans.

For more information on the series, visit the botanical center's website at qcgardens.com.


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