Thursday, July 19, 2007

TT #49: full moon names


Thirteen full moon names

Full Moon names 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 were 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 Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers 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. Here is the Farmers Almanac's list of the full Moon names.

  • Buck Moon (July 29) - 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.

  • Sturgeon Moon (August) - 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.

  • Harvest Moon (September) - This 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.

  • Hunter's Moon (October) - With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean.

  • Beaver Moon (November) - 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.

  • Cold Moon or Long Nights Moon (December) - 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.

  • Wolf Moon (January) - 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.

  • Snow Moon (February) - 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.

  • Worm Moon (March) - 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.

  • Pink Moon (April) - 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.

  • Flower Moon (May) - 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.

  • Strawberry Moon (June) - 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!

  • Blue Moon - Every year has a thirteenth moon, a second full moon in one month. It is called a blue moon; my TT #42 was about that phenomenon.

I didn't have a lot of time for a TT, so I made it easy for myself this week. I wanted to share the above article anyway, so why not make it my TT? ;-)


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  1. These are amazing...I'm actually going to copy them into a printed file for was such an interesting set of stories. I love that nature and animals are so interwoven to the seasons...and animals habits.

    It makes so much sense.

    Here is my TT:

  2. Very cool list--I love stuff like this! Happy TT!

  3. Great list. You always come up with really good things for the 13.

  4. i liked that, thank you!

  5. I only heard about the blue moon, all the others I didn't know. Very interesting.

  6. i am always fascinated by the names different cultures give things. our culture has lost something by having only 'full moon' to refer to all but that one blue moon each year.

    my tt is 13 musicians whose music i compose my stories to and is a companion piece to yesterday's post about the influence of music on my writing and work habits

  7. The blue moon and harvest moon were the only 2 I already knew. This was very interesting, especially the strawberry moon. Great TT list. Happy Thursday!

  8. That's fascinating. I've always wondered about the term Harvest Moon. Now I know :).

  9. Now, I recognized a few of these, but much was new info for me (I've heard May's full moon refered to as the Milk Moon, but not the Flower Moon)

    Very interesting list, that.

  10. *LOL* I posted about the full moon names a while back. I love this!

  11. We put together a monthly community newsletter here and my friend and I name the moon every month. I'm familiar with these. Some of ours of late have been: Green Man Moon, First Bloom Moon, Lucky Moon, Whole Hearted Moon and Clear Night Moon.

  12. Great TT! I knew Harvest and Long and Blue but the others were new to me!

  13. Worm Moon ;)

    Great list.

  14. Wicked Awesome list.
    I am going to have to show this to my husband.
    Great TT!

  15. You are an endless fount of informations as usual, Tink! Loved your post!

  16. Were you over the moon when you finished writing your list this week?

    (Sorry couldn't resist - Great list)

  17. I love this list. Some of these names are great. Worm Moon gives me some interesting ideas...

  18. Funny that you did this list this week; I was driving home last night, looking at the moon and thinking about how gorgeous it was.

    Happy TT, Tink!

  19. I didn't know all those different names! And I always thought a "harvest moon" was any full moon that appears huge in the sky! I've been referring to that sort of moon as a "harvest moon" my whole life!!!

  20. That was a cool list - definitely learned something there.

  21. Great idea, fantastic list.

  22. Great list Tink!
    I'm familiar with most of these full moon names, but I've never heard the March moon called the worm moon. I've also heard the June moon called the Honey Moon because stays near the horizon longer in the Northern hemisphere, thus making it appear larger and sometimes more yellow in color.

    Thanks for visiting my TT! :-)

  23. Thank you for these, Tink! You know, I always remember Harvest and Blue, but beyond that I'm clueless. Thanks for stopping by today; hope you have a marvelous weekend!
    Happy TTing,

  24. this was great post Tink! i'd forgotten some of these. I thought it was neat that some of the Native cultures saw a "rabbit" in the moon, rather than the man or woman image that is more typical. I have ot confess - i can't see the matter how hard i try.

  25. Pure gold for a writer, Tink. I'm going to print-and-keep in my resource file. You never know when I'll need to weave something like this into a story. Thank!

  26. Anonymous20/7/07 01:55

    What a fascinating list -- I really enjoyed reading those.

    Happy TT, and thanks for visiting mine! :)

  27. creative post!
    Thanks for stopping by, and Happy TT!

  28. Wolf Moon sounds so eerie and atmospheric. Wonderful TT!

  29. I love your moon thirteen. I'm big on moons. Weather, the sky.

  30. I love full moons! :) thanks for stopping by my TT, I got your link added.

  31. Fascinating! I knew about the Harvest, Hunter's and Blue moons, but not the others. Thanks for the lesson!

  32. Hey Tink

    First thanks for the read, I'm glad you liked the pups. Very neat list you have but what about the moon you get when the repairman bends over in front of you? :)
    thanks again

    Your Friend Mitch

  33. This was great info to put out there. I love full moons. I cannot sleep during a full moon. I guess I have a touch of lunar nadness. :o)~

  34. What an interesting post and a nice collected list. Thanks for taking your time doing all this.

    Living in Europe, and doing the comparing, this was very interesting!

    Btw: Since you liked my post about the Old Swedish town, you might like to check the next one too:-)

  35. Wow, I didn't know there was all those different names for full moons. Thanks for the info.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Take care, Meow


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