Interesting Full Moon Facts for 2018

Massac Beeswax now lists full moon dates along with area happenings.  A full moon event can be enjoyed by people of all ages – and there is no admission charge!

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their full moon names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the full Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.

January 2018 has it all for Full Moon fans. Both are Supermoons with the Moon being at it’s closest point to the earth making the Full Moon brighter and larger.

Full Wolf Moon, January 1, 2018, 8:24 p.m.  – Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the howling of wolves could be heard in the cold winter nights outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full moon, the Full Wolf Moon.

Because January’s full moon was usually the first full moon after Christmas, some cultures referred to it as the Moon After Yule.

Blue Moon, January 31, 2018, 7:26 a.m.  – This Supermoon gets even better with a Total Lunar Eclipse visible in the western United States.

February 2018, No Full Moon – How is this possible? This last happened in 1999 and occurs about 4 times a century. February is the only month that this is possible because the lunar cycle is longer than the number of days in February. When this does occur January and March usually have 2 Full Moon as it does this year.

In other years there is a Full Snow Moon – Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

After a rare February with no Full Moon, March 2018 gets two!

Full Worm Moon, March 1, 2018, 6:51 p.m. –  As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins.

Full Sap Moon, March 31, 7:37 a.m.– The more northern tribes  of the early American Indians knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter. This is not a common event and is referred to as a Blue Moon.

Full Pink Moon, April 29, 2018, 7:58 p.m. – Spring is here and with the warmer weather it’s time to get out and Moon Gaze! April’s Full Moon on April 29th marks the arrival of the Pink Moon. Named by some American Indian tribes for the little pink flowers called Wild Ground Phlox that appear in the meadows at this time of the year.

For other Indian Tribes named it for the time of the year the migratory birds start to move south such as “The Greg Goose Moon” and moon “When Geese Lay Eggs”.

Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Full Flower Moon, May 29, 2018, 9:19 a.m. – The Full Moon of May is known to signify the flowers that bloom during this month. There is a myriad of wildflowers which bloom in May in the Northern Hemisphere, where these traditional Full Moon names originated. For example, many types of anemone, wild garlic, indigo, bluebells, lupine, sundrops, and violets, to name just a few. It is no wonder that the colorful displays these flowers create in nature have inspired people to name this time after them.

Other names for May’s brightest Moon phase are Corn Planting Moon, and Milk Moon, when cows were milked three times a day.

Full Strawberry Moon, June 27, 2018, 11:53 p.m. – The Strawberry Moon is neither fruity nor pink, but it’s still pretty cool and will sometimes will with the summer solstice (aka the longest day of the year), but that won’t happen until 2062. For many American Indian tribes June’s Full Moon is commonly known as the Strawberry Full Moon or Big Leaf Moon.

For the Omaha Indians it’s referred to as “Moon when the buffalo bulls hunt the cows” and in the Celtic Calendar it’s known as the Oak Moon”. Europeans have dubbed it the Rose Moon, while other cultures named it the Hot Moon for the beginning of the summer heat.

Full Buck Moon, July 27, 2018, 3:20 p.m. – July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. This moon was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time.

Another name for this month’s moon was the Full Hay Moon, after the July hay harvest or Wort Moon, indicating that July is the time to gather herbs (worts) to dry and use as spices and remedies.

Full Sturgeon Moon. August 26, 2018, 6:56 a.m. – The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month.

A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Grain Moon, Green Corn Moon, Fruit Moon, and Barley Moon, all inspired by various crops that can be harvested in August.

Full Harvest Moon, September 24, 2018,  9:52 p.m. – This full moon name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon.  Other names include Corn Moon and Barley Moon.

Full Hunter’s Moon, October 24, 2018,  11:45 a.m. – Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains.

Some also called it Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon, which also refers to the hunting season. However, this name should not be confused with the term Blood Moon to describe a Total Lunar Eclipse. Other names Travel Moon and Dying Grass Moon.

Full Beaver Moon, November 22, 2018, 11:45 p.m. – This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter and since they are mainly nocturnal, they keep working under the light of the Full Moon.

It is sometimes also referred to as the Frost Moon because the first of the winter frosts historically begin to take their toll around now and winter begins to bite

Full Long Night’s Moon or Full Cold Moon, December 22, 2018, 11:48 a.m. – During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. This moon occurs near the winter solstice, the day with the least amount of daylight. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun. Other names also include Oak Moon.


Blood Moon – Blood Moon is not a scientific term, though in recent times it is being widely used to refer to a total lunar eclipse because a fully eclipsed Moon often takes on a reddish color. A total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon travels through the Earth’s umbra and blocks all direct sunlight from illuminating the Moon’s surface. However, some sunlight still reaches the lunar surface indirectly, via the Earth’s atmosphere, bathing the Moon in a reddish, yellow, or orange glow.

Blue Moon – The modern day definition of a Blue Moon is when there are two full moons in one month. A Full Moon occurs roughly every 29.5 days and on the rare occasions when the Full Moon falls at the very beginning of a month there is a good chance a Blue Moon will occur at the end of the month.

Full Moon. The full Moon comes about 15 days (14.8 to be exact) after the New Moon, the mid point of the cycle (half of 30 = 15). The Moon is now in alignment with the Earth and Sun again, just as in the New Moon phase, but this time, the Moon is on the opposite side of Earth, so the entire portion of the moon that is lit by the Sun is facing us.  After this phase, visibility starts decreasing.

Micro Moon – A micro moon is the opposite of a super moon. This teeny and dull full moon appears when the moon is at its farthest distance in its orbit,

New Moon. When we are in the New Moon phase, the Moon is not visible from our perspective because it is positioned between the Sun and Earth. The portion of the Moon that is actually getting sunlight is the back side of the moon, the half that we cannot see. It’s called the New Moon because it’s the beginning of the cycle. Push the “reset button” and let the 30-day orbit begin!

Super Moon – When the Moon is at it’s closest point to the earth making the Full Moon brighter and larger.

Information Sources: – 2018 Full Moons and New Moons
Farmers Almanac – Full Moon Names and Their Meanings