So talking about these old folk lores and such, I just finished reading a book called The Girl Who Chased the Moon. And in the very back, after the whimsical story’s ending, there was something that I’ve never heard of. There was a list of names and descriptions of all of the full moons for every month. Did you know that the Native Americans named the moons way back when? Neither did I.
According to the Farmer's Almanac, the Native Americans who lived in the area that is now the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to the recurring full Moons. Each full Moon name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred. These names, and some variations, were used by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.I found the names and descriptions very interesting and now my goal is to memorize them all! I just thought this was really neat, so I want to share them with you. And since I haven’t illustrated in a while, I thought I would create some visuals to go along with the history…
This full Moon appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages. It is also known as the Old Moon. To some Native American tribes, this was the Snow Moon, but most applied that name to the next full Moon, in February.
February: Full Snow Moon
Usually the heaviest snows fall in February. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some Native American tribes this was the Hunger Moon.
March: Full Worm Moon
At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.
April: Full Pink MoonThis full Moon heralded the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.
Flowers spring forth in abundance this month. Some Algonquin tribes knew this full Moon as the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.
June: Full Strawberry MoonThe Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon.
July: Full Buck MoonBucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.
Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.
This full Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn. It is also called the Barley Moon, because it is the time to harvest and thresh the ripened barley. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox, which can occur in September or October and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.
This is the month when the leaves are falling and the game is fattened. Now is the time for hunting and laying in a store of provisions for the long winter ahead. October's Moon is also known as the Travel Moon and the Dying Moon.
November: Full Beaver Moon
This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes.
I hope you enjoyed learning about some moon history!!! Now you will always know when it's time to set traps for beavers or when to pick strawberries!