From January 25, 2024, when the first full moon will grace our night sky, a series of full moons will occur approximately every 29 1/2 days. As stated by National Geographic, this lunar event happens when the moon is positioned directly opposite the sun, a celestial alignment that illuminates the moon for our benefit.
“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do.” – Tahereh Mafi.
While the sight of a full moon is common, many are unaware that each month’s full moon holds a unique name, a tradition passed down generationally by Native Americans. These names were used to track the seasons and carry rich cultural and ecological meanings. Let’s explore the names, meanings, and dates of the full moons we will witness in 2024:
January 25: Wolf Moon
Beginning our lunar journey, the year’s first full moon is known as the Wolf Moon. This name is derived from the howling wolves often heard during this time of year. Not merely howling due to hunger, wolves use this form of communication to define their territory, locate other pack members, reinforce social bonds, and gather for hunting.
February 24: Snow Moon
As February typically witnesses heavy snowfall, its full moon is called the Snow Moon. This name symbolizes the wintery weather and the stark white landscapes often associated with this month.
March 25: Worm Moon
March’s full moon, known as the Worm Moon, was initially believed to refer to earthworms that emerge from thawing spring soil. However, some sources suggest that the name relates to a different kind of worm seen from the tree bark around this time.
April 23: Pink Moon
Signifying the arrival of spring, April’s full moon is named the Pink Moon, after the wild ground phlox, a species of wildflower that sprouts early in the season and boasts a moss-pink appearance.
May 23: Flower Moon
Highlighting the abundance of blooming flowers during this month, May’s full moon is aptly dubbed the Flower Moon.
June 21: Strawberry Moon
The Strawberry Moon of June is named after the perfect time for gathering ripe strawberries in the northeastern United States.
July 21: Buck Moon
In July, male deer, or bucks, begin to regrow their antlers, lending their name to this month’s full moon: the Buck Moon.
August 19: Sturgeon Moon
The Sturgeon Moon of August is named after the fish that were abundantly available for catch in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain during this month.
September 17: Harvest Moon
Perhaps the most well-known full moon name, the Harvest Moon, signifies the time of year when crops are harvested. This moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.
October 17: Hunter’s Moon
The Hunter’s Moon is the first full moon following the Harvest Moon. Its bright and long presence in the sky allows hunters to track their prey at night.
November 15: Beaver Moon
November’s full moon, known as the Beaver Moon, is named after the heightened activity of beavers in building their winter dams during this month.
December 15: Cold Moon
The final full moon of the year, the Cold Moon, is named after the cold weather and long nights typical of December.
These names not only enhance our understanding of each month’s full moon but also provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and ecological wisdom of Native Americans. So, as we journey through 2024, let’s take a moment to appreciate the full moon’s beauty and the unique stories its names carry.
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