Full Moon for January 2021

Watch for January's Full Wolf Moon!

December 28, 2020
Full Wolf Moon - OFA

The full Wolf Moon rises on Thursday, January 28, 2021. Learn more about when, where, and how to see the January full Moon!

When to See January’s Full Moon

January’s full Wolf Moon reaches peak illumination on Thursday, January 28, at 2:18 P.M. EST. However, the Moon won’t be visible until it rises above the horizon around sunset that evening.

Consult our Moonrise Calculator to see what time you can expect to catch a glimpse of the first full Moon of 2021!

The sunset embers smolder low,
The Moon climbs o’er the hill, 
The peaks have caught the alpenglow,
The robin’s song is still.

–John L. Stoddard (1850–1931)


Why Is It Called the Full Wolf Moon?

The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not just to the full Moon itself.

It’s thought that January’s full Moon came to be known as the Wolf Moon because wolves were more often heard howling at this time. It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that wolves howl for other reasons. Howling and other wolf vocalizations are generally used to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, and coordinate hunting.

Wolves and Moon

Alternative January Moon Names

Another fitting name for this full Moon is the Center Moon. Used by the Assiniboine people, it refers to the idea that this Moon roughly marks the middle of the winter season.

Other traditional names for the January Moon emphasize the harsh coldness of the season: Cold Moon (Cree), Frost Exploding Moon (Cree), Freeze Up Moon (Algonquin), Severe Moon (Dakota), and Hard Moon (Dakota). 

See all 12 months of Full Moon names and their meanings.

Moon Phases for January 2021

Below are the dates and times (in Eastern Time) of the Moon’s phases in December. See our Moon Phase Calendar for times in your city/state.

January Moon Phase Dates and Times

Last Quarter: January 6, 4:38 A.M.
New Moon: January 13, 12:02 A.M.
First Quarter: January 20, 4:03 P.M.
Full Moon: January 28, 2:18 P.M.

When is the next full Moon? See our Full Moon Dates chart.

A howling lone gray wolf in snow-covered landscape.

January Full Wolf Moon Video

Each month, we will explain the traditional names of the full Moon along with some fascinating Moon facts. In this video, learn about January’s full Wolf Moon. Click below to watch the video.

Best Days in January 2021

For Planting

Aboveground crops: 16, 17, 26, 27

Belowground crops: 7, 8

For Setting Eggs

5, 6, 22, 23

For Fishing


See all our Best Days for various activities.

Moon Folklore

A bright first Moon promises rain and a bountiful harvest; a red-tinted Moon means a dry year.

A growing Moon and a flowing tide are lucky times to marry.

A halo around the Moon predicts wet or stormy weather. 

Share your thoughts about this month’s full Moons below. Tell us if we’re missing anything that you would like to know!


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

For a few days, including Jan

For a few days, including Jan 17 and 18, a friend and I saw what looked liked a smaller-than-usual white crescent shape at the BASE of the invisible moon, like the shape of a bowl from the side. Can you help? Thanks

Within a day or so before or

The Editors's picture

Within a day or so before or after the new Moon, you will see a very thin crescent of light, in the shape of a curve (like a very thin Cheshire cat smile). The curve, depending on the season, time of day, and viewer location, may be oriented so that it is like a smile, rather than having it upright like a parentheses sign.

A crescent moon is always low in the sky and appears around dawn or dusk. From January to March in the United States and other northern temperate latitudes (from 25 to 50 degrees north latitude), the crescent Moon will have its points, or horns, aimed upward, so that the Moon looks like a smile.

On the other hand, January 18, 2013, was the time of the first quarter Moon, quite a bit past new Moon. If you are saying that a thin crescent appeared below the unlit side of the Moon (on the left side), in addition to the lit right side of the Moon, then we're stumped, especially without seeing an actual image. No optical effect or phenomenon (such as Moon dogs, halos, pillars, earthshine, etc.) comes to mind that might be the cause.

Were you using an optical aid, such as a telescope or binoculars? If so, it might be something to do with the lenses and atmosphere. It probably wasn't Uranus, which you could see with binoculars around mid-January close to the Moon.

Anybody else have an idea?

Bowl-shaped moon

My papaw taught me this 40-50 years ago, and I have found it to be true: “If the moon is standing straight up, it is pouring out rain. If the moon is sitting down forming a bowl, it is holding rain.”
I look at the moon more in the summer months than any other time of the year. I have never seen the moon “lying down forming a smile,” so the “bowls” that Papaw showed me were not perfect “smiles.”

Hi! Thought you might like to

Thought you might like to see that I featured your piece on my Tarot Card Reading Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TarotC...

Our daughter is a labor and

Our daughter is a labor and delivery nurse. There is always more births on a full moon. Do you know what causes this?

In certain places, when there

In certain places, when there is a ring around the moon, or haze it indicated how long til the next snowfall, because it was shining thru the snow o ice between earth and the moon.. my parents always said this and it was about always true.

I have heard that on the

I have heard that on the light of the moon easy Labor on the dark hard labor and labor can come at any change of the moon...

Why do I retain more fluid

Why do I retain more fluid during a full moon? It happens every month!

There is an ongoing debate

The Editors's picture

There is an ongoing debate among experts as to whether the lunar phases significantly influence our health and behavior. There are various theories as to why the Moon might influence us, including gravitational pull and vibration. Many scientific studies seem to indicate that there is no correlation between the Moon and health, or they offer results that conflict with other studies. In general, there seems to be no conclusive evidence.

If you are interested, however, you can find some of these studies online or in scientific journals. For example, the following article touches upon a related subject, urinary retention, and seems to suggest that there is a correlation with the new Moon, but not the full Moon.


For more information, you might try asking a reference librarian at your local public library or nearest university.

Water retention in general can occur for several reasons, including salt intake, reaction to medication, weather, certain medical conditions, certain allergies, etc.

Hope this helps!

Make sure someone else sees

Make sure someone else sees that halo. I commented to my neighbor, "Look at that halo around the moon!" She said "What halo?" Turns out I had developed unusually rapid cataracts.

I have noticed that sometimes

I have noticed that sometimes the moon seems to glow a yellow around the edges. What causes this?

The Moon can appear silvery

The Editors's picture

The Moon can appear silvery white when it's high in the sky or yellowish or even orange when it's near the horizon. The reason for this is due to the Earth's atmosphere. When the Moon (or Sun) is near the horizon,
the light has to pass through a very wide path through an atmosphere filled with dust particles and the light scatters sideways.

I am moving in February,

I am moving in February, what's the best day to move. Should I move on the full moon.

Moving house during a waning

The Editors's picture

Moving house during a waning moon is good luck.

Dancing on the moon...

Dancing on the moon...

what is the best day to open

what is the best day to open a business?

We have best days to start a

The Editors's picture

We have best days to start a new project. See our Best Days Timetable here: http://www.almanac.com/bestday...

Looking at the almost full

Looking at the almost full moon from Fortson, Georgia, it appears to have a blue circle around the entire edge...what causes that?!

it's called a lunar halo. the

it's called a lunar halo. the light reflected from the moon reflects off of a thin cloud of ice particles in the atmosphere creating a circular halo of light around the moon.