Full Moons

Almost every month, a full moon graces the earth.  Once in a blue moon there’s a Blue Moon (a second full moon in one month), and, much more rarely, sometimes there is no moon in a month.  The month is always February, the shortest month, and the last time it happened was 1999.  Next time will be 2018.  In general, the full moon phase of the moon is as dependable as the coming of winter, the ripening of corn, the flowing of sap in the maple trees.

Native Americans were far more aware of such things than us modern calendar scribbling, PDA driven supermarket scavengers.  If one is dependent on adapting with the seasons to survive, then following the waxing and waning of the moon is a top priority.  It must also have been reassuring to see that passage of time, to mark it while shivering out the winter and to know that, next time the moon grew fat, bountiful summer and fall were 28 days nearer.

Such an important beacon, beautiful and mysterious yet constant and friendly, deserved a title.  One, in fact, for each time the moon reached maximum girth to denote the important changes expected that season.  The name depended to some extent on the location of the namer.  Some, like the Bone Moon in February were likely dreaded.  Others, like the Harvest Moon, the Frost Moon and the Egg Moon were and are celebrated as the end of one season or the beginning of the next.

Below are just some of the many names for full moons still used or remembered today.  Do you notice them and mark their passage as being of significance?  Tomorrow night, will you gaze at the full moon and imagine the snow and hunger and bones of centuries gone by?

January: Wolf Moon, Ice Moon, Old Moon

February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon

March: Storm Moon, Sugar Moon, Lenten Moon

April: Seed Moon, Waking Moon

May: Milk Moon, Hare Moon, Flower Moon

June: Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon, Strawberry Moon

July: Hay Moon, Thunder Moon,

August: Corn Moon, Red Moon, Lightning Moon

September: Harvest Moon, Barley Moon, Fruit Moon

October: Hunter’s Moon, Travel Moon, Blood Moon, Harvest Moon

November: Beaver Moon, Frost Moon, Snow Moon, Hunter’s Moon

December: Oak Moon, Winter Moon, Frost Moon

What do you know that might interest others in the Spirit River area?  Please make a post!  Just email townspirit@hotmail.com with your stories, information or photos.  Much appreciated!

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6 Responses to Full Moons

  1. I know about blue moons (two in a month) but I’d never heard of a month not having a full moon at all. Of course that would be the case sometimes.and of course only in the shortest month. I just hadn’t thought of that before. Thanks for an interesting anecdote.

  2. Black moon sounds appropriate. But the blue moon being a two moon – why not a two-nie. The regular moon would be the Lune-y. Why blue moon? Someone apparently made a mistake. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “The usage of the term blue moon to describe it results from a misinterpretation of the traditional definition of that term in the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope.”

    • townspirit says:

      Right, a Blue Moon is the third of four full moons that fall within three months, not just the second full moon in a month. But the reason for the name is apparently lost to history. The moon can appear blue due to smoke from forest fires or volcanoes, but of course that doesn’t happen with the frequency of a Blue Moon. Maybe people used to use the phrase to mean a rare, random event, and then the term was skewed a bit before it became the first definition of a Blue Moon. And it shifted again in 1946. It is interesting that most people probably use the phrase without thinking astronomically: that a Blue Moon isn’t unpredictable or nearly as rare as a blue (coloured) moon. Lune-y and Two-nie are wonderful! You’ve “coined” a very Canadian phrase!

  3. Pingback: Total Eclipse Overnight | Town Spirit

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