How Every Full Moon Received Its Title (and When to See Them)

This month’s hunter’s moon obtained me enthusiastic about moon names, and questioning if the complete moon in each month has its personal identify. Spoiler: It does.

The identify “harvest moon” is smart—it’s the moon we’d see once we’d be harvesting crops if we didn’t stay in a post-industrial hellscape—however the meanings of different moon names are much less instantly apparent. Like why does the “sturgeon moon” rise in August? And what the hell is a “full worm moon?”

What’s the precise identify of the Moon?

In English, the Earth’s moon is known as “the Moon.” That’s it; nothing extra particular.

The Moon’s identify dates again to a time once we didn’t notice different planets had moons, so there was no want to differentiate Earth’s moon from, say, Ganymede, considered one of Jupiter’s 79 moons.

The place full moon names come from

Completely different cultures have completely different names for full moons, and there’s no “official” designation for any moon—so you possibly can name the complete moon no matter identify you want. Essentially the most well-known and used moon names in the US, although, derive largely from Native People, who instructed time primarily based on lunar cycles relatively than by the solar. In a way, these are the months named for the moons, versus the moon’s identify throughout the month.

It’s truly a bit of extra difficult than that, as a result of moon names normally got here from colonial interpretations of Native American language, and the colonists additionally introduced European moon names into the combination. Completely different teams of Native People had completely different names for the complete moons, too, so the entire thing is fairly loosey-goosey.

Under are the moon names that caught on for every month, and some colourful options that aren’t as broadly used, in response to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. However first, let me get just a few non-traditional full moons out of the best way.

Blue moon, black moon, and supermoon

These three moon names describe not often occurring sorts of full moons, and don’t come from Native People.

Blue moon: As a result of the Moon’s schedule doesn’t hew to Man’s calendar, often there are two full moons in a single month. That is referred to as a “blue moon,” and it occurs about as soon as each two-and-a-half years (or “as soon as in a blue moon.”) The subsequent blue moon with be on Aug. 31, 2023.

Black moon: When there isn’t any full moon in a month, it’s referred to as a black moon. It might probably solely happen in February, as a result of the moon is on a 29.5-day cycle, and February has 28 days (except it’s a bissextile year.) We get a black moon about as soon as each 19 years. The subsequent black moon will occur in 2037, which means there will probably be two full moons in January and March: Double blue moon! Jackpot!

“Black moon” can also imply the second new moon in a month. That can occur on Could 19, 2023.

Supermoon: When the Moon’s orbit brings it closest to earth and it’s a full moon, we name it a supermoon. It seems barely bigger than a daily full moon, and it makes the tides extra excessive. The identify “supermoon” was coined in 1979.

With the outliers out of the best way, under are the names of the “regular” full moons.

January: Wolf moon

January’s full moon is known as “the wolf moon” as a result of, supposedly, wolves howl extra loudly and longer presently of 12 months. Wolves howl to mark territory, to collect for searching, and to search out one another, however we don’t know if wolves howl at the moon. They face the moon whereas howling, although.

Greatest various January moon names: Frost exploding moon, extreme moon, greetings moon.

When to see it: Jan.17, 2022

February: Full snow moon

Surprisingly, this moon will get its identify from the truth that it tends to snow rather a lot in February.

Greatest various February moon names: Month of the bony moon, groundhog moon, hungry moon.

When to see it: Feb. 16, 2022

March: Full worm moon

In keeping with the Outdated Farmer’s Almanac, the complete worm moon will get its identify from both “the earthworms of warming spring soil,” or from larvae, “which emerge from the bark of timber and different winter hideouts round this time.”

Greatest various March moon names: Crow comes again moon, goose moon, snow crust moon.

When to see it: March 18, 2022

April: Full pink moon

The pink moon impressed a improbable Nick Drake album. It’s thought to have been named for the yearly look of floor phlox, lovable pink perennials which can be among the many earliest of the spring flowers.

Greatest various April moon names: Damaged snowshoe moon, moon when the streams are once more navigable, sucker moon.

When to see it: April 16, 2022

Could: Full flower moon

This moon obtained its identify as a result of somebody mentioned, “Have a look at all of the flowers which can be rising now. Let’s identify the moon for them!” And everybody else went, “Yeah, man, cool! Let’s do this!” Besides this one man who was like, “However I need to name it ‘Moon of shedding ponies.’” (This dialog is fully traditionally correct, by the best way.)

When to see it: Could 16, 2022

Greatest various Could moon names: Moon of shedding ponies, egg laying moon, bud moon.

June: Full strawberry moon

It’s June; time to select the strawberries, buddy. So get on the market and collect ‘em up.

Greatest various June moon names: Hoer moon, scorching moon, egg laying moon, Outdated Moony Joe (I made that one up).

When to see it: June 14, 2022

July: Full buck moon

July’s full moon is called this as a result of that is when a younger buck’s antlers are absolutely grown.

Greatest various July moon names: Moon when the chokeberries are ripe, raspberry moon, thunder moon.

When to see it: July 13, 2022

August: Full sturgeon moon

This moon is called “sturgeon” as a result of that is the month when the fish of lake Champlain and the Nice Lakes are most simply caught. Mmmm fried sturgeon.

Greatest various August moon names: Ricing moon, mountain shadows moon, black cherry moon (RIP, Prince).

When to see it: Aug. 11, 2022

September: Harvest Moon

Essentially the most well-known of all full moons, harvest moon is called as a result of September is harvest time particularly for corn, or “maize” if you happen to favor.

Greatest various names for September moons: Moon when the rice is laid as much as dry, yellow leaf moon, falling leafs moon.

When to see it: Sept. 10, 2022

October: Hunter’s moon

The hunter’s moon obtained its identify as a result of October is an effective month to hunt for meat for the approaching winter. Deer name October’s moon the “Oh shit! They’re attempting to kill us!” moon.

When to see it: Oct. 20, 2021

Greatest various names for October’s moon: Falling leaves moon, freezing moon, migrating moon.

November: Full beaver moon

The complete beaver moon was named to your mother.

Not likely. Actually it’s as a result of that is when the beavers have completed getting ready for winter and retreat into their lodges for an extended relaxation.

(I’m sorry for saying that factor about your mother earlier.)

Greatest various names for November’s moon: Whitefish moon, deer rutting moon, frost moon.

When to see it: Nov. 19, 2021

December: Full chilly moon

This full moon’s identify is as a result of it’s chilly in December. I’m no moon-name-critic, however this month’s moon has a disappointingly pedestrian moniker. It’s helpful, certain, however the place is the poetry?

Greatest various names for December’s moon: Frost exploding timber moon, moon the place the deer shed their antlers, lengthy night time moon.

When to see it: Dec. 18, 2021


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