The Algonquin tribes of Native American Indians once stretched from New England, throughout the Great Lakes, all the way to Lake Superior. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, they had special names for each of 12 full moons to occur each year. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on average, the exact calendar dates shifted from year to year.
1) Full Wolf Moon – Wolf packs howl hungrily during the cold and deep snows of midwinter.
2) Full Snow Moon – The heaviest snow usually falls during this month (February).
3) Full Worm Moon – Temperatures warm, the ground begins to thaw and robins return.
4) Full Pink Moon – Herb moss “pink” is one of the earliest widespread flowers to bloom.
5) Full Flower Moon – Flowers become abundant everywhere.
6) Full Strawberry Moon – A short season for harvesting strawberries (June).
7) Full Buck Moon – New antlers coated with velvety fur appear on the buck deer.
8) Full Sturgeon Moon – The large fish of the Great Lakes is most easily caught during this month.
9) Full Harvest Moon – The Indian staples (pumpkin, squash, beans and wild rice) are ready for gathering.
10) Full Hunter’s Moon – Leaves are falling and the deer have been fattened.
11) Full Beaver Moon – Time to set beaver traps before the swamp waters freeze.
12) Full Cold Moon – Winter cold arrives as days become shorter.
Naturally, those of us who live in the splendor of the Ozark Mountain Plateau have also had a tradition of naming our 12 annual moons.
1) Full Reflection Moon – The dead of winter. Time to huddle in front of a fire and reflect upon how fortunate you are to live considerably south of Minnesota but not quite all the way to Texas.
2) Full Fixin Moon – Time to be fixin to do things, such as fixin to look for a job just as soon as you get done fixin to rest up a bit.
3) Full Possum Moon – Possum get restless during this month. Plenty of possum stew for all.
4) Full Moss Moon – As moss appears on rocks, it’s time for the spring bath. This is optional if you took a bath last year.
5) Full Shine Moon – Federal revenuers are busy back at the home office during the peak of tax season. Time to set up the sour mash operation for the summer.
6) Full Road-Kill Moon – Road-kill is at the summer peak. Plenty of road-kill stew for all.
7) Full Maintenance Moon – Good month for home maintenance. Time to burn the overgrown grass in the yard, dust the appliances on the porch, start a new trash pile in back, clean the cobwebs out of the outhouse and rearrange the layout of dead cars in the front yard so you can squeeze a few more in.
8) Full Catfish Moon – Time to go fishing. Plenty of fried catfish for all.
9) Full Fair Moon – This is county fair season. Prepare for the upcoming contests, such as cow pie flinging, long distance spitting and the “guess-my-gender” judging competition.
10) Full Nuts Moon – Squirrels start gathering nuts for winter. Plenty of squirrel potpie for all.
11) Full Jerky Moon – Hunting season. Shoot a bunch of deer, turkey and other tasty tidbits of nature. Skin ‘em, can ‘em, make jerky and mount the biggest one on the wall.
12) Full Ammo Moon – Time to prepare for winter. Make a trip into town to stock up on the necessities of life, such as chewing tobacco, camouflage and ammo.
Quote for the Day -- “The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.” Tahereh Mafi
Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and greets every full moon with a gratified howl.