What is a harvest moon?

Regardless of where you live, you no doubt experience pronounced seasons throughout the year. Heat in the summer, cool temperatures and even snow in the winter. These yearly changes occur because the Earth is at a 23-degree tilt. When the Earth is at the point where there appears to be no tilt from our perspective on Earth, which occurs twice a year, it is considered the equinox. In the fall, it is called the autumnal equinox. So what does this have to do with the Harvest Moon?

The Harvest Moon is another name for a full Moon in mid to late September. It is called the Harvest Moon in particular because it is the closest full Moon to the autumnal equinox. Prior to electricity, farmers relied on the additional light of the Harvest Moon to stay out later, harvesting the crops before the coming winter. Collecting the benefits of months of work, the Harvest Moon was considered a joyful time of bringing goods to market. Every year the date of the Harvest Moon changes. It can be found within a two-week span either before or after the autumnal equinox.