Moon Names and Meanings

Moon names have historically come a variety of cultures.  Native American, Colonial American, Chinese are a few that we derive many of these names from. Giving the Moon a “nickname” has traditionally occurred in the Northern Hemisphere.

January Moon Names

The most most common name given to the first Full Moon in January is the Full Wolf Moon.

Some of the other names the January Moon is known by are:

  • Canada Goose Moon
  • Center Moon
  • Cold Moon
  • Freeze Up Moon
  • Frost Exploding Moon
  • Great Moon
  • Greetings Moon
  • Hard Moon
  • Holiday Moon
  • Severe Moon
  • Spirit Moon

February Moon Names

Full Snow Moon is the most common name given to the the Full Moon of February.  It is typically a time of heavy snowfall.  Because February is only 28 days long and the Moon’s cycle is 29.53 days long, it is possible that February contains no full moon.  This occurs about once aver 19 years.  The last time this happened was in 2018 and the next time will be in 2037.

Alternate names given to February’s Full Moon are:

  • Bald Eagle Moon
  • Bear Moon
  • Black Bear Moon
  • Budding Moon
  • Month of the Bony Moon
  • Eagle Moon
  • Groundhog Moon
  • Hungry Moon
  • Raccoon Moon

March Moon Names

Warming soils with earthworm activity is thought to be the reason behind Marches Moon name, Full Worm Moon.  Other theories about how this name came about include one by Jonathan Carver in the late 1700s.  He thought the “worm” may have been a reference to the larvae that emerged from under tree bark as the temperatures warmed during this month.

Other names given to the march Full moon are:

  • Crow Comes Back Moon
  • Eagle Moon
  • Goose Moon 
  • Sleeping Moon
  • Snow Crust Moon
  • Sore Eye Moon
  • Sugar Moon
  • Wind Strong Moon

April Moon Names

Full Pink Moon is what the April Full Moon is most commonly known as.  This does not refer to the color it appears, but to the color of the ground phlox that covers the ground during this time of year.

Other April Moon names include:

  • Breaking Ice Moon
  • Broken Snowshoe Moon
  • Budding Moon of Plants and Shrubs
  • Frog Moon
  • Moon of the Red Grass Appearing
  • Moon When the Ducks Come Back
  • Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs
  • Moon When the Streams are Again Navigable
  • Peony Moon
  • Sucker Moon
  • Sugar Maker Moon

May Moon Names

May is the time of blooming flowers, and this is where Full Flower Moon comes from for this month’s Full Moon.

Alternate names include:

  • Budding Moon
  • Dragon Moon
  • Egg Laying Moon
  • Frog Moon
  • Leaf Budding Moon
  • Moon of Shedding Ponies
  • Planting Moon

June Moon Names

In the northeastern United States, the strawberries were ripening and it was time to gather them.   This inspired the delicious name, Strawberry Moon.

Other names given to the June Full Moon include:

  • Berries Ripen Moon
  • Birth Moon
  • Blooming Moon
  • Egg Laying Moon
  • Green Corn Moon
  • Hatching Moon
  • Hoer Moon
  • Hot Moon
  • Lotus Moon

July Moon Names

The growth of male deer antlers is where the name Buck Moon comes from.

Additional July Moon names include:

  • Berry Moon
  • Feather Moulting Moon
  • Halfway Summer Moon
  • Hungry Ghost Moon
  • Month of the Ripe Corn Moon
  • Moon When the Chokecherries are Ripe
  • Raspberry Moon
  • Salmon Moon
  • Thunder Moon

August Moon Names

For the native Americans of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain regions, the sturgeon was abundant and easily caught during this month.  The name Sturgeon Moon caught on. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist the bad pun.)

Other less fish Full Moon names include:

  • Black Cherries Moon
  • Corn Moon
  • Flying Up Moon
  • Harvest Moon
  • Mountain Shadows Moon
  • Ricing Moon

September Moon Names

Full Corn Moon Moon

Other September Full Moon names include:

  • Autumn Moon
  • Child Moon
  • Chrysanthemum Moon
  • Falling Leaves Moon
  • Harvest Moon
  • Leaves Turning Moon
  • Mating Moon
  • Moon of Brown Leaves
  • Moon When the Rice is Laid Up to Dry
  • Rutting Moon
  • Yellow Leaf Moon

October Moon Names

October was the month for Native American to hunt game to provision for the winter months, so this month’s Moon was named Hunter’s Moon.

Other Moon names for October include:

  • Drying Rice Moon
  • Falling Leaves Moon
  • Freezing Moon
  • Ice Moon
  • Kindly Moon
  • Migrating Moon

November Moon Names

Beaver Moon was given to the November Full Moon because this was the time when beavers finished preparations for winter and retreated into their lodges.

Other November Moon names include:

  • Deer Rutting Moon
  • Digging/Scratching Moon
  • Freezing Moon
  • Frost Moon
  • White Moon
  • Whitefish Moon

December Moon Names

December’s Full Moon is named Cold Moon in reference to the cold temperatures and the long, dark nights.

Alternate names for the December Moon are:

  • Bitter Moon
  • Drift Clearing Moon
  • Frost Exploding Trees Moon
  • Hoar Frost Moon
  • Little Spirit Moon
  • Long Night Moon
  • Mid-winter Moon
  • Moon of the Popping Trees
  • Moon When the Deer Shed Their Antlers
  • Snow Moon
  • Winter Maker Moon