Harvest Moon in night sky (iStock photo)

Indian Moon Names

Harvest moon
Harvest moon over my house in Philadelphia

I have always like the Indian names of full moons. Since Philadelphia is Algonquin territory, I use the terms they use. These terms have local variations, but these are pretty basic to follow. The named moons will span across more than one Julian/Georgian calendar month.

These names tell us more about the land than the standard Julian/Georgian calendar names. January is named after the god Janus, but what does it tell about the land we live in?

For each entry in my nature journal, I like to note the moon phases, which is why there is a moon phase widget on the side panel of this blog.

Many people count from full moon to full moon as one moon. A good way to follow the moons through the year is to display full moon on an electronic calendar or mark or buy a paper calendar with the moons already shown. Then it is just a matter of placing the full moon names on the proper spaces.

More information full moons can be found on Wikipedia.

Full Wolf Moon – January
Apparently, wolf packs howled hungrily outside of Indian villages at night. It’s no wonder many Indian villages were palisaded with wooden fences.

Full Snow Moon or Full Hunger Moon – February
The month of the heaviest snowfall. It is also the toughest month to find food, for animals and humans. And remember to feed the birds.

Full Worm or Full Sap Moon – March
This is when the ground begins to thaw and we see the first tiny earthworms wiggling along the ground and their spiral casts appear. The Robins should also be back from their winter in nearby woods when the earthworms appear. This is also the time when the sap begins to rise in the trees and Maple sap is tapped to make syrup.

Full Pink Moon or Full Fish Moon – April
When the Shadbush or Serviceberry blooms. Also when the shad begin to run and swim up-stream to spawn. This happens in the Delaware River here in Philadelphia. The Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia holds a Shadfest in April.  There is an abundance of blooming flowers during this time, like Pink Creeping Ground Phlox. This moon is also called Full Corn Planting Moon.

Full Strawberry Moon – June
Strawberries are ripe and ready to be picked!

The Full Buck Moon or Full Thunder Moon – July
The time when male deer begin growing their fighting antlers in preparation for mating season. And it is also the time of summer thunderstorms

Full Sturgeon Moon or Green Corn Moon – August
Fresh corn on the cob is ready for eating.

Full Corn Moon – September (often the Harvest Moon)
Corn is ready for harvest. The Harvest moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. This bright full moon allows people to gather crops late until the evening, during the rush to gather food before freezing sets in.

Full Harvest Moon – October (often Hunter’s moon)
Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief eastern American Indian staples, are now ready for gathering. The Hunter’s Moon is the next full moon after the Harvest Moon. This bright moon makes it easier for hunters to see at night.

Full Beaver Moon or Frosty Moon – November
Beavers actively prepare for winter and so should we.

The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon – December
The long night of the Winter solstice marks the longest night of the year.

The full moon names were explained courtesy of the Farmer’s Almanac –  http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names.

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