Full Moon Names

Traditional Names for the Full and New Moons

September 23, 2020
Full Moon Names
Colleen Quinnell, The Old Farmer's Almanac

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

Where Do Moon Names Come From?

The Moon names we use in The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from Native American, Colonial American, or other traditional North American sources passed down through generations.

Note that for Native American names, each Moon name was traditionally applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, the month starting either with the new Moon or full Moon. Additionally, a name for the lunar month might vary each year or between bands or other groups within the same nation.

Some names listed here may reflect usage at one time in history, but may no longer be used by a designated group today. Many of the names listed here are English interpretations of the words used in Native American languages. They are only roughly aligned here with the months of the Gregorian calendar; you’ll notice that some names are repeated in multiple months.

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!





Moon Names by Month

Month Name Description Alternative 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, reinforce social bonds, and gather for hunting.

• Canada Goose Moon
• Center Moon
• Cold Moon
• Freeze Moon
• Frost Exploding Moon
• Great Moon
• Greetings Moon
• Hard Moon
• Severe Moon
• Spirit Moon

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

• Bald Eagle Moon
• Bear Moon
• Month of the Bony Moon
• Eagle Moon
• Groundhog Moon
• Hungry Moon
• Raccoon Moon

March Full Worm Moon Traditionally thought to be named after the earthworms of warming spring soil. Alternatively, in the late 1700s, Jonathan Carver wrote that this Moon actually refers to a different sort of “worm”—larvae—which emerge from the bark of trees and other winter hideouts around this time.

• Crow Comes Back Moon
• Eagle Moon
• Goose Moon
• Snow Crust Moon
• Sore Eye Moon
• Sugar 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.

• Breaking Ice Moon
• Broken Snowshoe Moon
• Budding Moon of Plants and Shrubs
• Frog Moon
• Moon of the Red Grass Appearing
• Moon When the Ducks Come Back
• Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs
• Moon When the Streams are Again Navigable
• Sucker Moon
• Sugar Maker Moon

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

• Budding Moon
• Egg Laying Moon
• Frog Moon
• Leaf Budding Moon
• Planting Moon
• Moon of Shedding Ponies

June Full Strawberry Moon This was the time to gather ripening strawberries in what is now the northeastern United States.

• Berries Ripen Moon
• Birth Moon
• Blooming Moon
• Egg Laying Moon
• Hatching Moon
• Green Corn Moon
• Hot Moon
• Hoer Moon

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

• Berry Moon
• Feather Moulting Moon
• Halfway Summer Moon
• Month of the Ripe Corn Moon
• Moon When the Chokecherries are Ripe
• Raspberry Moon
• Salmon Moon
• Thunder Moon

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

• Black Cherries Moon
• Corn Moon
• Flying Up Moon
• Harvest Moon
• Mountain Shadows Moon
• Ricing 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.”)

• Autumn Moon
• Child Moon
• Falling Leaves Moon
• Harvest Moon
• Leaves Turning Moon
• Mating Moon
• Moon of Brown Leaves
• Moon When the Rice is Laid Up to Dry
• Rutting Moon
• Yellow Leaf Moon

October Full Hunter’s Moon (or Harvest Moon*) This is the month when 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.

• Drying Rice Moon
• Falling Leaves Moon
• Freezing Moon
• Ice Moon
• Migrating Moon

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

• Deer Rutting Moon
• Digging/Scratching Moon
• Freezing Moon
• Frost Moon
• Whitefish Moon

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

• Drift Clearing Moon
• Frost Exploding Trees Moon
• Hoar Frost Moon
• Little Spirit Moon
• Long Night Moon
• Mid-winter Moon
• Moon of the Popping Trees
• Moon When the Deer Shed Their Antlers
• Snow Moon
• Winter Maker Moon

*According to one tradition, which the Old Farmer’s Almanac honors, the Harvest Moon is always the full Moon that occurs closest to the September equinox. Most years, it falls in September; every three years, it falls in October. (Astronomical seasons do not match up with the lunar month.) If the Harvest Moon occurs in October, the September full Moon is usually called the Corn Moon instead. Similarly, the Hunter’s Moon always follows the Harvest Moon. (Note that these last two conditions are not according to Native American tradition.)

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 or new 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 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 Moon names and applied them to their own calendar system (primarily Julian, and later, Gregorian); they also brought their own traditions from Europe. 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. 

Moon Name Reference Sources

If you are interested in learning more, below are credible reference sources for these Full Moon Names—from Native American organizations to early American historical references. 

Other Full Moon Names

The following Moon names came into popular use more recently and do not refer to any specific month’s Moon:

  • 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 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!

2021_moon_calendar_ad.png

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

LOVE YOU ARTICLES!

LOVE LOVE X0X0X0X0XX00X0

Miss u

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

Pages