moon names

January
Hunger Moon/Wolf Moon/Cold Moon/Ice Moon/Old Moon/Moon After Yule/Chaste Moon/Spirit Moon/

January’s Full Moon was aptly named after the howling hungry wolves of mid-winter who prowled the villages searching for a meal. The howling of wolves was often heard at this time of year. It was traditionally thought that wolves howled due to hunger, but we now know that wolves use howls to define territory, locate pack members, and gather for hunting. Native American cultures typically hold a lot of respect and not fear of wolves, so this month’s Moon name should be viewed with that in mind, too.

February
Snow Moon/Quickening Moon/Storm Moon/Bone Moon

February is typically still cold and snowy in North America and so earned its full moon the name Snow Moon moon. “Bone Moon” (Cherokee, of the Southeast). The Bone Moon meant that there was so little food that people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup.

March
Worm Moon/Death Moon/Sap Moon

Native Americans considered this the last full moon of winter naming it the Worm Moon after the worm trails that would appear in the newly thawing ground. This Moon name actually refers to a different sort of “worm”, grubs which emerge from thawing trees and other winter hideouts.

April
Pink Moon/Wind Moon/Fish Moon

Northern Native Americans call April’s full moon the Pink Moon after a species of early blooming wildflower, Moss Pink Ground Flox. Coastal tribes referred to this months moon as the Full Fish Moon, the time shad swam upstream to spawn. According to folklore, the period from the full Moon through the last quarter of the Moon is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.

May
Flower Moon/Hare Moon

May’s full moon is known as the Flower Moon in many cultures thanks to the flowers that begin to be seen blooming from the soil as spring begins to settle in.

June
Strawberry Moon/Rose Moon/Sun Moon

In North America, the harvesting of strawberries in June gives this month its full moon name. This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. Europeans have dubbed it the Rose Moon and others the Sun Moon because the earth is beginning to heat up from the summer sun.

July
Buck Moon/Thunder Moon/Hay Moon

Male deer, which shed their big antlers every year, begin to regrow them in July, hence the Native American name for July’s full moon. Some refer to this moon as the Thunder Moon, due to the summer storms that often occur in this month. Other names include the Hay Moon, after the July hay harvest.

August
Sturgeon Moon/Green Corn Moon/Grain Moon

North American fishing tribes called August’s full moon the Sturgeon Moon since the species appeared in abundant numbers in August. The sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this Full Moon. It’s also been called the Green Corn Moon, and the Grain Moon.

September
Corn Moon/Barley Moon/Harvest Moon

September’s Full Corn Moon is so called because this is when crops are gathered at the end of the summer season. At this time, the Moon appears particularly bright and rises early, letting farmers continue harvesting into the night. This moon is also sometimes named the Barley Moon because of the harvest, and it is often the nearest full moon to the autumnal equinox, earning the title of Harvest Moon.

October
Hunter’s Moon/Migrating Moon

The hunter’s moon, is in the preferred month to hunt deer and fox unable to hide in bare fields 😢. Like the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon is also particularly bright and long in the sky, giving the hunters the opportunity to stalk prey at night.

November
Beaver Moon/Frost Moon

There is some disagreement over the origin of November’s beaver moon name. Some say it comes from Native Americans setting beaver traps during this month 😢, while others say the name comes from the heavy activity of beavers building their winter dams 😁. Another name is the frost moon.

December
Cold Moon

The coming of the winter chill earned December’s full moon the name Cold Moon.

Oneida Nation 13 Moon Names

The 13 Moons and their names:
NOTE: The names that are indented are alternative names or names that are more common in other communities. The name that is most common in the Oneida Wisconsin community is the first one listed when there are multiple given.

Tsaˀtekohsélhaˀ Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Midwinter Moon, 1st new moon after solstice)

Wataˀklokwaskó‧ (Great Snow Moon, 2nd new moon)
Tewahúhtyaks Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Breaking Ear Moon, 2nd new moon) or

Otsiˀkhé‧ta Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Maple Sap Moon, 3rd new moon)
Tewʌhníslyaks Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Breaking Season Moon, 3rd new moon) or
Wáhta Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Maple Syrup Moon, 3rd new moon) or

Káhsakayu‧té‧seˀ Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Thunder Moon, 4th new moon)

Twayʌthos Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Planting Moon, 5th new moon)

Kaˀniyohu‧té‧s Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Strawberry Moon, 6th new moon)

Oˀyhótsliˀ Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Green Bean Moon, 7th new moon)

Onʌstaseˀ Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Green Corn Moon, 8th new moon)

Yeyʌthókwas Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Harvesting Moon, 9th new moon)

Yutékhwayʌheˀ Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Storing Away Moon, 10th new moon)

Luto‧láts Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Hunting Moon, 11th new moon)

Wahsu‧tés Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Long Night Moon, 12th new moon)

Watolíshʌheˀ Wʌhní‧taleˀ (Resting Moon, 13th new moon)

Image Courtesy of: Olihwaka·yú – Oneida History Program