Why does the full moon have a new name each month?

Published: Dec. 11, 2019 at 11:41 PM EST
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Long before clocks and calendars, the only way civilizations knew how much time had passed was to observe the moon phase.

Everyone from the Europeans to Native American tribes named moons after features they associated with the seasons. For instance, the full moon in December is called the full cold moon because it truly starts getting cold. The full flower moon is in May because the flowers begin popping out of the ground. And fittingly, the full moon closest to the September equinox is called the Harvest Moon, and it is either in September or October.

Because the moon names were based on different civilizations, there are often multiple names that are given to the same full moon.


Wolf Moon – January

Snow Moon – February

Worm Moon – March

Pink Moon – April

Flower Moon – May

Strawberry Moon – June

Buck Moon – July

Sturgeon Moon – August

Harvest Moon – September or October

Full Corn Moon (Harvest) – September

Hunter's Moon (Harvest) – October

Beaver Moon – November

Cold Moon – December

Typically there are 12 full moons per year, one per month. However, there are some years where there are multiple full moons in the same month. That second moon in the month is known as a blue moon.

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