Full Moon Names Explained

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Written By Hossein Soltani

Until recently, the phases of the moon were simple to name – there was a regular full moon and the occasional harvest moon or blue moon.

Now, every full moon seems to have a name, and if you haven’t kept up with the moon news, you probably don’t know what they are.

The moon is the nearest, brightest and largest object in the night sky seen from Earth.

A full moon hangs in the sky every 29.5 days and is the time when the moon is between the Earth and Sun and the Sun completely lights the Moon’s face.

The names of each full moon come from history – mostly following the lore of the native North Americans. They had no calendar, so called each full moon by a name to differentiate the time of year.

Colonists picked up the same names for convenience.

Here’s the complete list for a lunar year –

January – Wolf Moon

Named after the time of year villagers heard wolfs howling nearby for food.

January often has two full moons – and when this happens in a month, the second is the blue moon.

February – Snow Moon

Sometimes called the Hunger Moon, both names come from the icy winter that made hunting hard

March – Worm Moon

When the ground warms and worms come to the surface.

April – Pink Moon

The Moon is not literally pink this month, it’s the time of year when North America is carpeted with pink wildflowers. Sometimes called the Sap Moon, as this is the time sap rises.

May – Flower Moon

Another month associated with flowers. The Moon is brighter than usual in May, which explains why some people call this the Milk Moon.

June – Strawberry Moon

The start of the strawberry picking season.

July – Thunder Moon

The weather is behind the name of this full Moon – traditionally this month is peppered with storms. Another name is the Buck Moon, as July is the month when stags are fully antlered.

August – Sturgeon Moon

North American natives traditionally caught sturgeon in this month.

September – Harvest Moon

The first moon before the Autumn Equinox that gave farmers extra light to bring in their crops.

October – Hunter’s Moon

This time of year was considered the best for hunting as game was getting fatter from eating grain.

November – Frost Moon

Typically, the first frost bites this month. Sometimes called the Beaver Moon.

December – Cold Moon

This Moon falls around the time of the longest day when winter is often at the bleakest.

And don’t forget the Blood Moon

This is when light from the Earth is reflected on the Moon, giving the satellite a red glow.