There’s a little island in the world where the full moon is so spiritually significant that its monthly occurrence is celebrated as a national holiday. Can you guess which country it is?
Faith in the Full Moon
Across many cultures the full moon is believed to influence human behaviour. The lunar effect even contributing to the word “lunacy” describing mental illness. These various beliefs circle around the physical, mental as well as spiritual. It is commonly held that the full moon intensifies mental illness in those susceptible, often tends to induce labour if a due date is closing by and enhances the karmic effect of both good and bad deeds. Adding to its mysterious seduction the lunar effect is an enigma even in mystic lore; known to draw out and heighten the magic of supernaturals.
Now, coming back to my initial question; which little island populace in the world are the biggest admirers of the full moon?
Every Poya (full moon) observes a significant milestone in the Buddhist religion. Combining this with the belief of the full moon’s spiritual impact of heightening karmic influence, these days are considered important days to visit the temple, avail in religious activities and refrain from sinful deeds.
If you would like to know more about the meaning of each Poya in the Buddhist calendar, follow my blog, I will be publishing another article in lieu of Vesak (7th May) exploring the meaning behind each. Check it out on https://iserendip.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/the-full-moon-significance-in-buddhism/?preview=true&_thumbnail_id=240
Facts of the Full Moon
Every object in space generates a gravity. The earth is affected by both solar gravity and lunar gravity, even though the latter is much smaller in magnitude it has a much greater effect on earth due to its proximity. Lunar gravity physically effects all waterbodies on earth, but its effects are most visible on the larger waterbodies which are the oceans where it influences the tide cycles. It is a fact that this influence of the moon is higher during new moon and full moon because the sun, earth and moon arrange itself along more or less a straight line and solar gravity reinforces the lunar gravity. The full moon is visible whilst the new moon to the unaided eye is not.
The rare occurrence of a supermoon is when this force is at its most powerful. During a supermoon the full moon effect coincides with the perigee, which is the point in the lunar orbit when it is nearest to the earth and therefore exerts the maximum influence of its gravitational pull.
Facts vs Faith
It is very difficult to substantiate the various beliefs in the moon. There are many studies that are stated to give scientific proof for the lunar effect on humans, but then again there are also an equal amount stated to discredit them.
So, as a layman analysing the information out there, as usual I find there are two sides to the story. The full moon in fact does have a physical influence on earth. Therefore, even in a small way it must affect us physically akin to its impact on large bodies of water. Who can say that it cannot affect us mentally and spiritually too? Biologically there is a strong link between the physical and mental wellbeing each feeding off each other. Spirituality is about human energy linked to both these aspects.
But technically other than a supermoon the moon does not have an increase nor decrease in its gravitational pull; it is merely the solar gravity reinforcing it. It is a combined effect of both bodies of gravity that we experience during the new and full moon. The lunar gravitational effect also stands true equally for the new moon as well. So, the question remains why are humans so highly conscious of the lunar effect on a full moon day alone?
Tide impact of the moon accessed from National Geographic Feature [https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2004/07/moon-facts/] and EarthSky Website [https://earthsky.org/earth/tides-and-the-pull-of-the-moon-and-sun]
Full moon holidays accessed from Public Holidays Global Website [https://publicholidays.lk/2020-dates/]
The full moon coinciding with perigee accessed from EarthSky Website [https://earthsky.org/tonight/years-biggest-supermoon-on-night-of-april-7-8 ]
The lunar phase accessed from Timeanddate Website [https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/]
Gravity of objects accessed from NASA Website [https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-is-microgravity-58.html]