Special names of the moon phases

We on Earth do not always call the Moon by its phase names. Sometimes we refer to a full Moon as a Harvest Moon. Sometimes a waxing crescent is a young Moon, and we even have blue Moons! So what leads us to come up with these special phase names, and what role do they play in our lives?

In the United States, every full Moon has a special name depending on the month that it appears in. Most of the names are associated with weather or agriculture. January is known as the “Moon after Yule,” in reference to the first full Moon after the Germanic festival later absorbed into Christianity as Christmas. February is known as the “Snow Moon” for the traditionally large amounts of snow that would fall during this time. The full Moon in March is known as the “Sap Moon” for marking the time when to tap Maple Trees for their syrup.

April was known as the “Grass Moon” for marking the return of green grass after the harsh winter. In addition, the full May Moon was known as the “Planting Moon,” for signaling when farmers should begin planting their spring crops. Following in the farming tradition, the full Moon in June was known as the “Honey Moon,” for being the time of year to begin harvesting honey. July was referred to as the “Thunder Moon” for the frequent thunder and lightening storms that happened most often during the month.

The “Grain Moon” was given to the full August Moon, to signify when the grain should be harvested. In a similar vein, September and October had similarly themed names, referring to their full Moons as Harvest Moons. As the weather got worse, November’s full Moon reflected the coming winter with the title “Frosty Moon.” Finally, December was known as the “Moon before the Yule,” signifying the full Moon prior to the religious holidays.