Full Moon Names

Traditional Names for the Full Moons

April 27, 2020
Full Moon Names
Colleen Quinnell, The Old Farmer's Almanac

Historically, Native American and other traditional names for full Moons were used to track the seasons. Think of them as “nicknames” for the Moon! See Full Moon names for each month of the year and their meanings.

The Full Moon Names we use in The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from Native American tribes, Colonial Americans, or other traditional North American names passed down through generations. (Note that each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred.)

Click on the linked names below for our monthly Full Moon Guides and see our Full Moon Calendar to find out the date of the next full Moon!

Month Name Description Alternate Names
January Full Wolf Moon The howling of wolves was often heard at this time of year. It was traditionally thought that wolves howled due to hunger, but we now know that wolves use howls to define territory, locate pack members, and gather for hunting.

Cold Moon
Spirit Moon
Center Moon
Severe Moon
Greetings Moon

February Full Snow Moon February is typically a time of heavy snowfall.

Hunger Moon
Bone Moon
Black Bear Moon

March Full Worm Moon Traditionally thought to be named after the earthworms of warming spring soil, this Moon name actually refers to a different sort of “worm”—grubs—which emerge from thawing trees and other winter hideouts.

Sap Moon
Sugar Moon
Eagle Moon
Crow Moon
Lenten Moon
Wind Strong Moon

April Full Pink Moon This full Moon heralded the appearance of the “moss pink,” or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring wildflowers.

Egg Moon
Sprouting Grass Moon
Budding Moon
Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs

May Full Flower Moon Flowers spring forth in abundance this month.

Corn Planting Moon
Milk Moon
Mother’s Moon
Frog Moon

June Full Strawberry Moon In Colonial America, this was a time to gather ripening strawberries.

Rose Moon
Hot Moon
Hoeing Moon
Honey Moon

July Full Buck Moon At this time, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode.

Thunder Moon
Raspberry Moon
Salmon Moon

August Full Sturgeon Moon The sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon.

Green Corn Moon
Black Cherries Moon
Flying Up Moon

September Full Corn Moon (or Harvest Moon*) This full Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn. (See note below regarding the “Harvest Moon.”)

Barley Moon
Yellow Leaf Moon

October Full Hunter’s Moon This is the month when the leaves are falling and the game is fattened up for winter. Now is the time for hunting and laying in a store of provisions for the long months ahead.

Migrating Moon
Falling Leaves Moon

November Full Beaver Moon This was the time when beavers finished preparations for winter and retreated into their lodges.

Frost Moon

December Full Cold Moon This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark.

Long Nights Moon

*Harvest Moon: The Harvest Moon is always the full Moon that occurs closest to the September equinox. If the Harvest Moon occurs in October, the September full Moon is called the Corn Moon instead. Similarly, the Hunter’s Moon always follows the Harvest Moon, meaning that it may also occur in November.

Why Native Americans Named the Moons

The early Native Americans did not record time by using the months of the Julian or Gregorian calendar. Many tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, although there was much variability. For some tribes, the year contained 4 seasons and started at a certain season, such as spring or fall. Others counted 5 seasons to a year. Some tribes defined a year as 12 Moons, while others assigned it 13. Certain tribes that used the lunar calendar added an extra Moon every few years, to keep it in sync with the seasons. 

Harvest full moon

Each tribe that did name the full Moons (and/or lunar months) had its own naming preferences. Some would use 12 names for the year while others might use 5, 6, or 7; also, certain names might change the next year. A full Moon name used by one tribe might differ from one used by another tribe for the same time period, or be the same name but represent a different time period. The name itself was often a description relating to a particular activity/event that usually occurred during that time in their location.

Colonial Americans adopted some of the Native American full Moon names and applied them to their own calendar system (primarily Julian, and later, Gregorian). Since the Gregorian calendar is the system that many in North America use today, that is how we have presented the list of Moon names, as a frame of reference. 

Other Full Moon Names

  • Harvest Moon: The Harvest Moon is an astronomical name and refers to the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. It can occur in either September or October. Near the autumnal equinox, the Moon rises only about 30 minutes later each night, instead of about 50 minutes, providing a few evenings of extra light after sunset for farmers to continue harvesting. At this time of year, crops such as corn, pumpkins, squash, and wild rice are ready for gathering. 
  • Blue Moon: Occasionally, two full Moons occur within the same calendar month. The first full Moon goes by the name normally assigned to that month’s full Moon, but the second full Moon is commonly called a Blue Moon. Blue Moons occur about every 2½ years.
  • Black Moon: In contrast to the Blue Moon, Black Moon has been used to refer to a month in which there is no full Moon; this can only occur in February, because the calendar month has fewer days (28 or 29 days) than the lunar month (about 29.5 days). The term may also refer to a second new Moon occurring within a calendar month; by this definition, a Black Moon can never occur in February.
  • Supermoon: A full Moon is said to be a “Supermoon” when it is at the point in its orbit closest to the Earth. In astronomy, the terms “perigee syzygy” or “perigee full Moon” are typically used instead of “Supermoon.” Learn more about Supermoons.

When is the Next Full Moon?

Check out our Full Moon Calendar to see when the next full Moon will happen, and see our Moon Phase Calendar to find the Moon phase for a specific date!

Reader Comments

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LOVE YOU ARTICLES!

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Tiffany

Couldn't sleep tonight..I've

Couldn't sleep tonight..I've been up a few times already and noticed the bright moon tonight..checked the current phase of the moon..this site said the full moon happens in about 2 1/2 hrs..the sight of the full moon always seems to be a comfort..no matter the season....just thought I'd share ..in the event your up looking at the moon tonight:)

I was up as well

I went outside and sat on a lounge chair to actually see just how bright the moon was. I had been living in city for a while and rarely got to see the Harvest Moon. Had just moved and finally got to see it and more to come! My grandpa, born in 1893 planted his garden by the moon phases, the Farmers Almanac was always at his side.

Up for the Moon

David: could it be you were channeling Cher and Nicolas Cage from "Moonstruck", the movie? Wonderful that you feel the moon like that.

Randomly acquired info

Couple of weeks ago--mid-July, a weatherman or someone on TV called it a Bark Moon. It's when the bark is harvested from the cork trees so they have time to regrow it before the next (winter?) stressful season. It also stands to reason the bark has time to be cut and cured to use for the new season's wine. Agrarian, but not Native American....

hi

hi

Full Moon Names

Interesting that people throughout the centuries have paid attention and followed the moon phases. Today people much ignore it. The Strawberry Moon, coincided with the Summer Solstice, has given me, incredible energy. My friends and family have also felt it. Lack of sleep, yet arising feeling good. Thank you Sun and Moon for always being there for us everyday. I am grateful.

June Solstice Moon

I saw the full moon last June, also. I believe it occurred on the summer solstice, was amber colored, and is thus called the Honey Moon. (Got this moon lore from the Almanac.) Am I wrong?? I love these articles and posts!

The Harvest Moon happens

The Harvest Moon happens around some time in September partly around the Autumn Equinox. Corn, rice, and crops grow around this time of year, too!

Harvest moon

Harvest moon is any time someone plays it on the jukebox by Neil Young

Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, which is typically September 21st or 22nd. 2017's Harvest Moon happened in October, making September's full moon, the Full Corn Moon.

love this article

What a very cool article, I loved learning all this knowledge how the bird songs are enlightened by sunlight. Certain planting moons and fishing times and all this wonderful stuff. Very well written informative article!

I agree holly!!!

I agree holly!!!

I enjoy the Almanac page -

I enjoy the Almanac page - some very interesting information. I am pleased to learn more of the Native American Indian full moon names and meanings. It doesn't mean we have to agree or even understand, but I do appreciate their explanations. It's informative and opens my mind to thoughts not known previously. I know so little about our various tribes, but I love our Country and all those who gone before - the knowledge we can glean just from listening - be it factual or folklore - I am fascinated and enjoy what I learn. Thank you for this page and the information posted here. Happy New Year and I will look forward to clear skies to see our Full Wolf Moon on the 23rd!!! ;o)

the moon

the moon is a dead planet that was pushed here and is used to keep humans from ascending by beaming electromagnetic frequency that keep our vibration low. stop romanticizing this thing.

Seriously?

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."
—Maurice Switzer

The moon was not placed here by anyone. If you'd taken a remedial high school science class you'd know about NASA's take on how the moon got into our orbit:

The Giant Impactor Theory (sometimes called The Ejected Ring Theory): This theory proposes that a planetesimal (or small planet) the size of Mars struck the Earth just after the formation of the solar system, ejecting large volumes of heated material from the outer layers of both objects. A disk of orbiting material was formed, and this matter eventually stuck together to form the Moon in orbit around the Earth. This theory can explain why the Moon is made mostly of rock and how the rock was excessively heated. Furthermore, we see evidence in many places in the solar system that such collisions were common late in the formative stages of the solar system. This theory is discussed further below.

You need to study some more

You need to study some more before making blanket statements.

i always start to sing when i

i always start to sing when i see any phase of moon. the moon makes me say Beautiful Moon!

Thank you!!

Thank you!!

Full Moon

I did learn many things on the moon. Thank you so much and I love to read all your letters. Josette

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