How Each Full Moon Got Its Name (and When to See Them)

Hunter’s moon this month got me thinking about the names of the moons and wondering if the full moon of each month has its own name. Spoiler: Right.

The name “full moon” makes sense – it is the moon we would see when we were harvesting if we did not live in a post-industrial hellish landscape – but the meanings of other moon names are less obvious. For example, why does the “sturgeon moon” rise in August? And what the hell is a full worm moon?

What is the real name of the moon?

In English, the Earth’s moon is called “Moon”. That’s all; nothing concrete.

The name of the moon goes back to a time when we did not know that other planets have moons, so there was no need to distinguish the moon of the earth from, say, Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s 79 moons.

Where do the names of the full moon come from?

Different cultures have different names for the full moon, and there is no “official” name for any moon, so you can call the full moon any name. However, the most famous and used names for the moons in the United States come primarily from Native Americans, who determined time from lunar cycles rather than the sun. In a sense, these months are named for the moons, not for the moon within the month.

It’s actually a little more complicated because the names of the moons usually came from colonial interpretations of the Native American language, and the colonists added European names for the moons as well. Full moons are also referred to by different Native American groups, so this is pretty silly.

Below are the names of the moons that are popular for each month, and a few colorful alternatives that are not as widely used, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac . But first, let me get some unconventional full moons out of the way.

Blue moon, black moon and supermoon

These three moon names describe rare full moon species and do not originate from Native Americans.

Blue Moon: Because the Moon’s schedule does not match the Human’s calendar, sometimes there are two full moons in one month. This is called the “blue moon” and it happens about once every two and a half years (or “once per blue moon”). The next blue moon will be August 31, 2023.

Black Moon: When there is no full moon in the month, it is called a black moon. This can only happen in February, because the Moon is in a 29.5-day cycle, and February has 28 days (if it is not a leap year). The Black Moon appears about once every 19 years. The next black moon will occur in 2037, which means there will be two full moons in January and March: Double blue moon! Jackpot!

“Black Moon” can also mean the second new moon of the month. This will happen on May 19, 2023.

Supermoon : When the Moon’s orbit approaches Earth and it is a full moon, we call it a supermoon. It appears slightly larger than a normal full moon and makes the tides more intense. The name “supermoon” was coined in 1979.

Regardless of the outliers, the following are the names for “normal” full moons.

January: Wolf Moon

The full moon in January is called the “wolf moon” because, presumably, wolves howl louder and longer during this time of year. Wolves howl, marking territory, going to hunt and finding each other, but we do not know if wolves howl at the moon. However, they look at the moon and howl.

Best alternative to January moon names : Frost, exploding moon, harsh moon, congratulatory moon.

When to watch it: January 17, 2022.

February: Full snow moon

Surprisingly, this moon gets its name from the fact that it snows a lot in February.

Best Alternative to February Lunar Names: Bony Moon Month, Groundhog Moon, Hungry Moon.

When to watch: Feb 16, 2022

March: full worm moon

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the full moon of the worm gets its name either from “earthworms of warm spring soil” or from larvae “that emerge from the bark of trees and other winter shelters around this time.”

Best Alternative to March Moon Names: Crow Returns, Moon, Goose Moon, Snow Crust Moon.

When to watch it: March 18, 2022.

April: full pink moon.

The Pink Moon inspired Nick Drake’s fantastic album. It is believed to have been named for the annual appearance of ground phlox, an adorable pink perennial that is one of the earliest spring flowers.

Best Alternative to April Moon Names: Snowshoe Moon, Luna when streams become navigable again, Sucker Luna.

When to watch it : April 16, 2022.

May: full flower moon

This moon got its name because someone said, “Look at all the flowers that are growing now. Let’s call it the moon! “And everyone else said,” Yeah, dude, cool! Let’s do it! ”Except for the guy who said,“ But I want to call it Pony Dropping Moon. ”(By the way, this conversation is historically accurate).

When to watch it: May 16, 2022.

Best Alternative to May Moon Names: Losing Pony Moon, Egg Laying Moon, Bud Moon.

June: full strawberry moon

It’s June; Time to pick strawberries, buddy. So go and collect them.

Best alternate names for June moons: Hoer Moon, Hot Moon, Egg-laying Moon, Old Lunar Joe (I made this up).

When to watch it: June 14, 2022.

July: full moon

The July Full Moon is so named because it is the time when the antlers of a young deer are fully grown.

The best alternative to the names of the July moon : moon when chokeberries ripen, crimson moon, stormy moon.

When to watch it: July 13, 2022.

August: full moon of sturgeon fish.

This moon is called “sturgeon” because it is the easiest month to fish from Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes. Mmmm fried sturgeon .

Best Alternative to August Moon Names: Rising Moon, Mountain Shadows Moon, Black Cherry Moon (RIP, Prince).

When to watch it: August 11, 2022.

September: Harvest Moon

The most famous of all full moons, the full moon , is so named because September is the harvest time specifically for corn, or “corn” if you prefer.

The best alternative names for September moons are : Moon when rice is put to dry, moon with yellow leaves, moon with falling leaves.

When to watch it: September 10, 2022.

October: hunter’s moon

Hunter’s Moon gets its name because October is a good month to hunt for meat for the coming winter. The deer call the October moon “Oh shit! They are trying to kill us! ” Moon.

When to watch it : Oct 20, 2021

The best alternative names October Moon: moon with falling leaves, freezing the moon, the moon migrans.

November: full beaver moon

The full beaver moon was named after your mom.

Not really. In fact, because it was then that the beavers finished preparing for the winter and retired to their houses for a long rest.

(I’m sorry that I said the same about your mom earlier.)

The best alternative names for the November moon are whitefish moon, deer rut moon, frost moon.

When to watch it : November 19, 2021

December: full cold moon

This full moon is called because it is cold in December. I’m not a critic of lunar names, but this month moon has a disappointing moniker. Of course useful, but where are the verses ?

The best alternative names for the December moon are : moon, exploding trees, moon, moon on which deer shed their antlers, long night moon.

When to watch : Dec 18, 2021

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