The full moon comes but once a month (except of course in the instance of a blue moon wherein there is an extra full moon in a given season). Did you know however that each of the full moons have an “official” name and meaning behind each of them? It’s true. The practice of naming the full moon actually dates back to the Native Americans, who used the full moon to help keep track of the seasons.
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Now, since the lunar month is only 29 days long, the extra day of the full moon is not the same from year to year. However the names of the full moons remain the same. Here are the names for each of the full moons:
January – Full Wolf Moon (Also known as Old Moon, Moon After Yule and Full Snow Moon)
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The January full moon gets its name from the wolves that used to howl outside the Indian villages on the cold, snowy, winter nights.
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February – Full Snow Moon (Also known as Full Hunger Moon)
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February was traditionally the month with the most snow. So it’s easy to see how they got the name for this full moon. It is sometimes called full hunger moon because when the snow was high, it was very hard to hunt and find food.
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March – Full Worm Moon (Also known as Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, The Full Sap Moon and Lenten Moon)
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The Full Worm Moon gets its name as in March the temperature typically started to warm up. The ground begins to thaw and earthworms begin to appear. It’s this time of year when the crows begin to appear as well, which is why another popular name for the March full moon is the Full Crow Moon.
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April – Full Pink Moon (Also known as Full Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon and Full Fish Moon)
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The Full Pink Moon apparently gets its name from the beautiful pink flowers that would bloom in April. It was also the time of year when fish would swim upstream to spawn.
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May – Full Flower Moon (Also known as Full Corn Planting Moon and Milk Moon)
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By May, flowers were in bloom all around, so it made sense to call this full moon the Full Flower Moon. Additionally, it was the time of year when corn would be planted.
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June – Full Strawberry Moon (Also known as Rose Moon)
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June’s full moon got its name from, you guessed it, strawberries. There was usually a very small window where tribes could plant and harvest strawberries. That time fell during the month of June. Thus June’s full moon is known as the Full Strawberry Moon.
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July – The Full Buck Moon (Also known as Full Thunder Moon and Full Hay Moon)
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Around this time of year, bucks (male deer) would begin to get their new antlers. Thus many tribes referred to this moon as the Full Buck Moon. Others referred to it as the Full Thunder Moon as thunderstorms were quite common during the month of June.
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August – Full Sturgeon Moon (Also known as Full Red Moon, Green Corn Moon and Grain Moon)
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August’s full moon gets it name courtesy of the fishing tribes. They named it after the fact that the sturgeon, which could be found in the Great Lakes and many other large bodies of water, seemed to be most easily caught during the month of August. There were a few other tribes who referred to the August moon as the Full Red Moon because at that time of year, the haze in the sky makes the moon appear red.
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September – Full Corn Moon (Also known as Harvest Moon)
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Full Corn or Full Harvest Moon come from the fact that September is the time of year when the earlier planted corn was supposed to be harvested.
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October – Full Harvest Moon
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Now, the Harvest Moon is the full moon that appears closest to the Autumn equinox. Typically that occurs in September, however there are times when it occurs in October, so October’s moon was given the name Full Harvest Moon. There were times during the month when the moon was so bright farmers actually worked into the night by the light of the moon. This moon also signified it was time to harvest other crops such as pumpkins, beans, rice, etc.
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November – Full Beaver Moon (Also known as Frosty Moon)
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November’s moon was given its name as it was the time of year when the freezing temperatures were coming in fast and hunters would have to set beaver traps before the streams froze over. They’d set traps so they could have furs to keep themselves and their families warm during the cold winter.
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December – Full Cold Moon (Also known as Full Long Nights Moon, Moon before Yule and Long Night Moon)
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December’s full moon got its name from the fact that during December the cold weather really began to hit the tribes hard. Additionally, the nights were long and dark which only seemed to intensify the chilling temperatures.
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