The Full Moon’s Many Different Names And What They Mean

Native Americans had names for each month’s full moon. These names helped to track the seasons, particularly for tribes in the northeastern part of what is now the United States. Lunar months are 29 days long, so the names of the full moons shift occasionally.

The Farmers’ Almanac helps to explain how these moons got their names and their future dates:

Buck Moon — Next: July 9, 2017/July 27, 2018


Bucks often shed their antlers in the winter and the horns begin to come back during this hot summer month. Sometimes July’s full moon is also called the Thunder Moon for the violent storms that pass through at this time of year.

Sturgeon Moon — Next: August 7, 2017

In the Great Lakes region, sturgeon are plentiful this at in the late summer. Some tribes referred to the August full moon as the Red Moon, because the moon may appear red when rising through the season’s hazy heat.

Corn Moon/Harvest Moon — Next: September 6, 2017

September is the time of the autumnal equinox, which marks the transition from summer to fall. Corn and other North American crops are finally ready to be harvested as the summer heat breaks. “Harvest Moon” happens to be Neil Young’s favorite full moon!

Harvest Moon/Hunter’s Moon — Next: October 5, 2017


Depending on the timing of this full moon, it may also qualify as a Harvest Moon, when farmers can work late into the night, laboring in the light of the full moon. With the crops freshly harvested, it is easier to see across fields, giving people a better shot at prey, whose meat can be cured and stored for the approaching winter months.

Beaver Moon — Next: November 4, 2017

November is the time when beavers are busily preparing their dams for the approaching winter freezes. It was also a good last minute opportunity to hunt for beaver, whose heavy, furry coats made for warm winter layers.

Cold Moon — Next: December 3, 2017


The longest night of the year falls in December, the month when the cold of winter officially sets in.

Wolf Moon — Next: January 1, 2018

The Farmers’ Almanac writes that this moon got its name because, “Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.”

Snow Moon — Next: February 19, 2019

In the American northeast, February is typically the snowiest month. Occasionally February full moons are also referred to as “Hunger Moons” since both hunting and gathering could be difficult during this cold, lean month.

Worm Moon — Next: March 1, 2018


As winter starts to thaw and the vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring, worms wriggle their way back to the surface of the earth, bringing hungry birds with them.

Pink Moon — Next: April 29, 2018

Ground phlox is a pink native North American wildflower that grows in the early spring.

Flower Moon — Next: May 29, 2018

April showers bring May Flower Moons. May is the height of spring in bloom.

Strawberry Moon — Next: June 28, 2018


Strawberries are only ripe for picking for a relatively short window, typically in the month of June, which is also the host month for the summer solstice.

Enjoy celebrating each and every one of these fantastic full moons!

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