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. Historically, names for the full or new Moons were used to track the seasons. Today, we think of Moon names as “nicknames” for the Moon.
June’s full Moon—typically the last full Moon of spring or the first of summer—has traditionally been called the Strawberry Moon. While strawberries certainly are a reddish-pink color and are roundish in shape, the origin of the name “Strawberry Moon” has nothing to do with the Moon’s hue or appearance, despite the evocative imagery (shown in the artist rendering below). A Moon usually appears reddish when it’s close to the horizon because the light rays must pass through the densest layers of atmosphere.
This “Strawberry Moon” name has been used by Native American Algonquian tribes that live in the northeastern United States as well as the Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples to mark the ripening of “June-bearing” strawberries that are ready to be gathered. The Haida term Berries Ripen Moon reflects this as well. As flowers bloom and early fruit ripens, June is a time of great abundance for many.
Alternative June Moon Names
Many cultures over time have used different names for the 12 full moons experienced each year. Usually, they’re not based on a color, but on a common activity that takes place that time of year.
Blooming Moon (Anishinaabe) is indicative of the flowering season, while Green Corn Moon (Cherokee) and Hoer Moon (Western Abenaki) suggest that it’s time to tend to young crops.
Other names highlight that this is a time of new life: The Tlingit have used the term Birth Moon, referring to the time when certain animals are born in their region (the Pacific Northwest). Egg Laying Moon and Hatching Moon are Cree terms that also hint at a time of many animal babies.
Alternative European names for this Moon include the Honey Moon and the Mead Moon. June was traditionally the month of marriage, and is even named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Following marriage comes the “honeymoon,” which may be tied to this alternative Moon name!