The Full Moon in January is called the Wolf Moon, after the hungry packs of wolves that howled at night.
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Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell.
Nicknames for the Full Moon
Do you know anybody who has a nickname? Did you know that the Full
a bunch of nicknames?
Native Americans who lived in the North and East parts of North America had
many nicknames for the Full Moon. They gave the Full Moon a different nickname
for each month of the year. The nicknames helped them keep track of the seasons.
The Native Americans who made up the nicknames are called the Algonquian tribes.
The Algonquian tribes liked to hunt and fish, and to grow crops for food. Most
of the names they had for the Moon were about hunting, fishing, plants, or
Some European settlers learned the names for the Full Moon from the Algonquian
people. Some of the settlers used the "moon names" too. Most people
today have heard of the "Harvest Moon". Farmers harvest their crops
in the fall. The farmers can work late, after sunset, because of light from
the Harvest Moon.
Here are the names the Algonquian
people used for the Full Moon at different times of the year.
||Why that name?
||Hungry wolf packs howled at night
||Heaviest snowfalls in the middle of winter
||Start of spring, as earthworms (and the robins that eat them!) began
||An early spring flower called "moss pink" started to bloom
||Many types of flowers bloom in May
||Strawberries were ready to be picked and eaten
New antlers of buck deer, coated with velvety fur, began to form
||Sturgeon, a large fish found in the Great Lakes, were easily caught at
this time of year
||Farmers could continue harvesting until after sunset by the light of
the Harvest Moon
||Hunters tracked and killed prey by moonlight, gathering food for the
Time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to make sure of
a supply of warm winter furs
||The cold of winter sets in
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