Full Moon for December 2020

Bundle Up for December's Full Cold Moon!

December’s full Moon rises on Tuesday, December 29, 2020. The Old Farmer’s Almanac will reveal everything you need to know about the Cold Moon and what makes it special.

When to See December’s Full Moon

December’s Cold Moon reaches peak illumination on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at 10:30 P.M. EST

Start looking for the full Moon just before sunset as it begins to peek above the horizon. To find the exact time that it will appear in your area, consult our Moonrise Calculator.

What makes this full Moon special? It’s most distinctive for its high trajectory across the sky, which results in the full Moon sitting above the horizon for a longer period of time. 

Why Is It Called the Cold Moon?

The Moon names we use in The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from Native American, Colonial American, or other traditional sources passed down through generations. A variety of Native American societies traditionally used the monthly Moons and nature’s corresponding signs as a calendar to track the seasons.

Today, December’s full Moon is most commonly known as the Cold Moon—a Mohawk name that conveys the frigid conditions of this time of year, when cold weather truly begins to grip us.

Other names that allude to the cold and snow include Drift Clearing Moon (Cree), Frost Exploding Trees Moon (Cree), Moon of the Popping Trees (Oglala), Hoar Frost Moon (Cree), Snow Moon (Haida, Cherokee), and Winter Maker Moon (Western Abenaki).

This full Moon has also been called the Long Night Moon (Mohican), as it rose during the “longest” nights of the year, which are near the December winter solstice. This name is also fitting because December’s full Moon shines above the horizon for a longer period of time than most full Moons.

In Europe, ancient pagans called the December full Moon the “Moon Before Yule,” in honor of the Yuletide festival celebrating the return of the sun heralded by winter solstice.

See a full calendar year of full Moon names and their meanings.

Moon Phases for December 2020

Below are the dates and times (in Eastern Time) of the Moon’s phases in December. Click here to see the Moon phase dates and times for your location.

December Moon Phase Dates and Times

Last Quarter: December 7, 7:37 P.M.
New Moon: December 14, 11:18 A.M.
First Quarter: December 21, 6:42 P.M.
Full Moon: December 29, 10:30 P.M.

When is the next Full Moon? Consult our Full Moon Dates chart.

Best Days in December 2020

Below are the best days for activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in December.

For Harvesting

  • Aboveground crops: 15, 16
  • Belowground crops: 7, 8

For Setting Eggs

  • 8, 25–27

For Fishing

  • 14–29

See Best Days for more activities.

Moon Folklore

  • If a snowstorm begins when the Moon is young, it will cease at moonrise.

Share your thoughts about this month’s Moon below!