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Native American Moon Names

Tonight, January 29th, brings us the brightest and largest full moon we will see during this year - 2010. With clear skies you will be able to easily see many of the moon's features. And if you have a telescope, the view will be amazing.

In Native American culture there is a name for each full moon for each month of the calendar year. Our wonderful Indian tribes, several hundred years ago, defined the seasons by naming each full month for any given month. These moon names were for the entire month in which that full moon occurred. And being that there were many different tribes of Indians, many of these moons go by more than one name.

January - Wolf Moon
With the temperatures below zero and dealing with heavy snowfall, the wolves found it difficult to find food. They would howl from hunger outside of the Indian villages. This moon is also known as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule.

February - Snow Moon

Typically, the heaviest snows would fall in February, hence the name. As hunting would become very difficult with the heavy snows, this moon was also called the Hunger Moon.

March - Worm Moon
After the heavy snows of February the ground began to soften, allowing for the return of the earthworm, which in turn brought back the robins. Northern tribes referred to this as the Crow Moon because the cawing of the crows signified that winter was at a close. This one is also known as the Crust Moon, so described by the thawing of the snow during the daytime and the freezing of it at night.

April - Pink Moon
Wild ground phlox, which is pink in color, covered the land. There are several other names for this moon - the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and, for tribes living in coastal regions, the Fish Moon, as this was the time that shad swum upstream for spawning.

May - Flower Moon

April showers brought May flowers and now the flowers are everywhere. This is also called the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.

June - Strawberry Moon
This is the peak season for picking strawberries. In Europe this is called the Rose Moon.

July - Buck Moon
For young buck deer, this is when their new antlers push through the skin, covered in velvet. This moon is also known as the Thunder Moon as this is the season when thunderstorms occur most often. And this moon is also called the Hay Moon.

August - Sturgeon Moon
Named for the time when the sturgeon, the large fish of the Great Lakes, are most easily caught. Several tribes call it the Full Red Moon because the moon appears reddish through a sultry haze as it rises. This moon is also called the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.

September - Harvest Moon
Due to this moon typically falling closest to the Autumnal Equinox, farmers could work their fields and harvest their crops by moonlight. The major staples of the Indian diet - beans, squash, corn, wild rice and pumpkins, are ready for harvest.

October - Hunters' Moon

The leaves have fallen and the deer have gotten fat. As the fields were cleared in the prior month, wild game is easier to see and hunt, making for a bountiful Thanksgiving.

November - Beaver Moon
Beaver traps, which ensured warm furs to survive the long, cold winters, were set out in November before the waters froze. This is also called the Frosty Moon.

December - Cold Moon
This is when the winter cold really begins to set in. Often this moon is called the Moon Before Yule. And with the night now being quite long with the moon visible for more hours than during the summer, this moon is also referred to as the Long Night Moon.

Author Resource: Written by Starr Hendon



Sai @ BloggerStop said...

Nice post Starr,

Never knew so many names are there for full moons. Anyways even I got a few pictures to share of the brightest full moon of 2010, here are they (although not with a 2000x telescope but a 100x cam :)

Starr Hendon said...


Your pictures are outstanding. What a sight, huh? Unfortunately here in Montana it was overcast, but still bright enough for a moonlight walk :)