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The Full Moon in January is called the Wolf Moon. It is named after the hungry packs of wolves that howled at night.
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Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell.

The Many Names for the Full Moon

Sometimes, in the fall, you may hear people call a Full Moon the "Harvest Moon". That's because farmers can stay in their fields late, after sunset, harvesting their crops by the bright light of a Full Moon. Did you know that there are special names for the Full Moon during each month of the year?

The names for the Full Moon were made up by the Algonquian tribes of Native Americans. Most of the Algonquian people hunted and fished to get food, but some also grew crops. The names they had for the Moon are related to nature & the seasons, hunting & fishing, and farming. The Algonquian people lived all over the northern and eastern parts of North America. When settlers from Europe met up with them, some of the settlers started using most of the same names for the Full Moon.

The table below lists the names the Algonquian people used for the Full Moon during different months of the year.



Month Moon name Why that name?
January Wolf Moon Hungry wolf packs howled at night
February Snow Moon Heaviest snowfalls in the middle of winter
March Worm Moon Start of spring, as earthworms (and the robins that eat them!) began to appear
April Pink Moon An early spring flower called "moss pink" started to bloom
May Flower Moon Many types of flowers bloom in May
June Strawberry Moon Strawberries were ready to be picked and eaten
July Buck Moon

New antlers of buck deer, coated with velvety fur, began to form

August Sturgeon Moon Sturgeon, a large fish found in the Great Lakes, were easily caught at this time of year
September Harvest Moon Farmers could continue harvesting until after sunset by the light of the Harvest Moon
October Hunter's Moon Hunters tracked and killed prey by moonlight, stockpiling food for the coming winter
November Beaver Moon

Time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to make sure of a supply of warm winter furs

December Cold Moon The cold of winter sets in
Last modified October 17, 2005 by Randy Russell.

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