AUSTIN (KXAN) — There is a full moon each month, but did you know each full moon has its own name?
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, names for the moons were historically used to track the seasons. Now, their names are thought of as “nicknames.” Most moons also have more than one name.
Many of the names stem from Native American, Colonial American or other traditional North American sources passed down through generations. Many of the names listed in the Farmer’s Almanac are English interpretations of the words used in Native American languages.
Below is each month’s moon name, and the meaning behind it, per the Farmer’s Almanac.
January – Full Wolf Moon
This moon is named after the fact that the howling of wolves was often heard at this time of year. According to the Almanac, many sources state that wolves howled due to hunger, but they actually howl to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, and gather for hunting.
February – Full Snow Moon
February is typically a time of heavy snowfall in parts of the country conducive to that weather.
March – Full Worm Moon
Traditionally thought to be named after the earthworms of warming spring soil. Alternatively, the Farmer’s Almanac says 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.
April – Full Pink Moon
This full Moon heralded the appearance of the “moss pink,” or wild ground phlox — one of the first spring wildflowers. They can mainly be found in the eastern U.S.
May – Full Flower Moon
Flowers spring forth in abundance this month.
June – Full Strawberry Moon
This was the time to gather ripening strawberries in the area that is now the northeastern United States.
July – Full Buck Moon
At this time of year, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode.
August – Full Sturgeon Moon
The sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were said to be most readily caught during this full Moon.
September – Harvest Moon (or Full Corn Moon)
The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the September equinox. This time also corresponds with the traditional harvesting of corn.
October – Full Hunter’s Moon
This is the month when the game is fattened up for winter. The Farmer’s Almanac says this time period is the time for hunting and laying in a store of provisions for the long months ahead.
November – Full Beaver Moon
This was the time when beavers finished preparations for winter and retreated into their lodges.
December – Full Cold Moon
This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip, and the nights become long and dark.
Other full moon names
There are some other names for full moons that have been popularized more recently and do not refer to any month’s moon in particular:
Blue Moon: This type of moon occurs about every two-and-a-half years, when two full moons happen within the same calendar month. The first full moon in the month will go by the name normally assigned to that month’s full moon, and the second is commonly called a “Blue Moon,” according to the Almanac. Another definition for “Blue Moon” is the third full moon in a series of four full moons occurring in a single astronomical season.
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.”
Black Moon: The term “Black Moon” has a few definitions. Most commonly, it refers to the second new Moon occurring within a single calendar month; by this definition, a Black Moon can never occur in February. It has also 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).