Full moons this year, and the reason why they are named this and the dates
Full Wolf Moon – January 15 Amid the cold and deep snows
of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.
Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred
to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow
Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.
Full Snow Moon – February 14 Since the heaviest snow
usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east
most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes
also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather
conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.
Full Worm Moon – March 16 As the temperature begins to
warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding
the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the
Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or
the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from
thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the
time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it
was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last
full Moon of winter.
Full Pink Moon – April 15 This name came from the herb
moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread
flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body
include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal
tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam
upstream to spawn.
Full Flower Moon – May 14 In most areas, flowers are
abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other
names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.
Full Strawberry Moon – June 13 This name was universal to
every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon.
Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries
comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that
occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!
The Full Buck Moon – July 12 July is normally the month
when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in
coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon,
for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time.
Another name for this month’s Moon was the Full Hay Moon.
Full Sturgeon Moon – August 10 The fishing tribes are
given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish
of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily
caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon
because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze.
It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.
Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon – September 8 This
full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked
when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full
moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs
closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest
Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the
peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of
this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later
each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon
seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes
later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of
Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the
chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.
Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon – October 8 This
full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or
Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon
for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are
fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter
ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or
early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come
out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of
winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with
special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both
Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.
Full Beaver Moon – November 6 This was the time to set
beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter
furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon
comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for
winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.
The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon – December 6
During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at
their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before
Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the
midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the
horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory
across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.