Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Moonstruck...Native American names for each full moon

"Bluemoon (1)" by Craig Deakin from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
 - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
I’m back! Completed my first draft of Through the Hourglass and on to the editing phase. (Because of my intense writing schedule, I will be posting new blog posts every two weeks for the foreseeable future.)

We’ve just experienced our third and final Super Moon of 2014 this past Monday, September 8th. Granted, in my part of the world, rainy skies precluded viewing the Super Harvest Moon, however, there is some argument in the astronomical community over whether or not the full moon on October 8th could also be considered a Super Moon. If it were, it would be a Super Hunter’s Moon. (Also known as a Super Blood Moon and, this year, coincides with a full lunar eclipse as seen in North America!) Whew! A whole lot of lunar action going on. It’s a wonder we’re not all moonstruck lunatics! To learn more about the eclipse, see this website: 
"Supermoon" by Peter2006son - File:Supermoon - Howrah 2011-03-19 1881.JPG.
 Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
A Super Moon is one in which it comes to its fullest phase on the same night it swings closest to the earth, at its perigee. (As opposed to when it’s at its most distant, apogee.)  All that’s fine scientific information to know but I’m in love with the names Native Americans gave each full moon, names adopted by our Colonial American ancestors. Each full moon was named to represent something important going on in the natural world, a world in which our ancestors (Native American and otherwise) lived in much more direct contact than do most of us today.
 So, here is a list of those full moon names, some of their alternatives, and an explanation of each (Thanks to the National Geographic website for this fascinating information.) 
January: Wolf Moon
Native Americans and medieval Europeans named January's full moon after the howling of hungry wolves lamenting the midwinter paucity of food. Other names for this month's full moon include old moon and ice moon.
"Blue Canyon Moon (5020077179)" by John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA -
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
February: Snow Moon
The typically cold, snowy weather of February in North America earned its full moon the name snow moon. Other common names include storm moon and hunger moon.
March: Worm Moon
Native Americans called this last full moon of winter the worm moon after the worm trails that would appear in the newly thawed ground. Other names include chaste moon, death moon, crust moon (a reference to snow that would become crusty as it thawed during the day and froze at night), and sap moon, after the tapping of the maple trees.
By Hahn Family Wines (Flickr: Harvest Moon8.JPG)
 (], via Wikimedia Commons
April: Pink Moon
Northern Native Americans call April's full moon the pink moon after a species of early blooming wildflower. In other cultures, this moon is called the sprouting grass moon, the egg moon, and the fish moon.
May: Flower Moon
May's abundant blooms give its full moon the name flower moon in many cultures. Other names include the hare moon, the corn planting moon, and the milk moon.
June: Strawberry Moon
In North America, the harvesting of strawberries in June gives that month's full moon its name. Europeans have dubbed it the rose moon, while other cultures named it the hot moon for the beginning of the summer heat.
July: Buck Moon
Male deer, which shed their antlers every year, begin to regrow them in July, hence the Native American name for July's full moon. Other names include thunder moon, for the month's many summer storms, and hay moon, after the July hay harvest.
"Harvest Moon" by Original uploader, Roadcrusher at en.wikipedia - 
August: Sturgeon Moon
North American fishing tribes called August's full moon the sturgeon moon since the species was abundant during this month. It's also been called the green corn moon, the grain moon, and the red moon for the reddish hue it often takes on in the summer haze.
September: Harvest Moon
The most familiar named moon, September's harvest moon refers to the time of year after the autumn equinox when crops are gathered. It also refers to the moon's particularly bright appearance and early rise, which lets farmers continue harvesting into the night. Other names include the corn moon and the barley moon.
October: Hunter's Moon
The first moon after the harvest moon is the hunter's moon, so named as the preferred month to hunt summer-fattened deer and fox unable to hide in now bare fields. Like the harvest moon, the hunter's moon is also particularly bright and long in the sky, giving hunters the opportunity to stalk prey at night. Other names include the travel moon and the dying grass moon.
"Hard to focus on! (4317424759)" by Bernal Saborio from Costa Rica
- licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
November: Beaver Moon
There is disagreement over the origin of November's beaver moon name. Some say it comes from Native Americans setting beaver traps during this month, while others say the name comes from the heavy activity of beavers building their winter dams. Another name is the frost moon.
December: Cold Moon
The coming of winter earned December's full moon the name cold moon. Other names include the long night moon and the oak moon.
The Blue Moon
Each year, the moon completes its final cycle about 11 days before the Earth finishes its orbit around the sun. These days add up, and every two and a half years or so, there is an extra full moon, called a blue moon. The origin of the term is uncertain, and its precise definition has changed over the years. The term is commonly used today to describe the second full moon of a calendar month, but it was originally the name given to the third full moon of a season containing four full moons.
*And on a less scientific but very romantic note dear Reader, in the 1920’s while on a trip from New York City to Miami, lyricist Benny Davis, pining for his sweetheart and seeing a beautiful moon reflected in the Perquimans River as he crossed the bridge in Hertford, North Carolina (just up the road from my Edenton,) penned the words to the famous song “Carolina Moon”. …Carolina Moon, keep shining, Shining on the one who waits for me…*
Have a good couple weeks dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now!


No comments: