One of the more dramatic sights in the night sky – and inspiration for poets, artists and lovers – full moons captivate us like nothing else. Most of us are impressed with the beauty of a full moon shining down from the darkened sky; however, did you know that the twelve (oops sometimes thirteen) full moons each have a name. Full moon names date back to Native American tribes from northern and eastern United States. The various tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each full moon. The following are the names of the various moons.
January Ice Moon, Old Moon or Moon after Yule
February Snow Moon, Hunger Moon or Wolf Moon
March Crow Moon, Death Moon, or Lenten Moon
April Grass Moon, Pink Moon, Seed Moon or Egg Moon
May Milk Moon or Planting Moon
June Honey Moon, Flower Moon or Strawberry Moon
July Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon
August Sturgeon Moon, Lighting Moon or Corn Moon
September Fruit Moon or Harvest Moon*
October Blood Moon or Harvest Moon*
November Hunters Moon or Beaver Moon
December Long Night Moon or Moon Before Yule
*A harvest moon is said to occur closest to the equinox and can happen in late September or early October.
Now back to the oops! I am sure almost everyone has heard the expression “Once in a Blue Moon.” Well, this comes from the fact that two full moons occur in one month only seven times every nineteen years. Since the early 1700s, this has been known as the “Blue Moon”.
For centuries, the moon phases have been an important part of our human existence. In fact, the Hindu, Hebrew, Islamic, Mayan, Germanic, Celtic and Chinese calendars are all based on the phases of the moon.
In closing, I wonder if you have noticed that winter moons ride high and small in the sky and summer moons are larger and lower in the sky and seem much brighter. This is because in the summer, the moon is closest to the northern hemisphere and seems larger.
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