The Full Moons of 2012 and how They Got Their Names

The Full Moons of 2012 and how They got Their NamesThe names of the full moons can be traced back a few hundred years ago to the Native Americans who lived in what we know now as the eastern and northern United States. Because there were no print calendars at this time, the Native Americans used the full moons to help them keep track of the seasons as they changed. They gave each of the recurring full moons, which applied to the whole month they occurred in, a distinctive name to help them identify the particular season.

When the European settlers came along they created some of their own. Here are the names of the full moons and when they will occur in 2012, with the times being Eastern Standard Time.

  • Full Wolf Moon—January 9th, 2:30 a.m. This was named because of the deep and cold snows of mid-winter when outside the Indian villages the hungry wolf packs howled. It is also sometimes known as the Old Moon or the Moon after Yule.
  • Full Snow Moon—February 7th, 4:54 p.m. This was named because this is the time of the year when the heaviest snowfalls usually happen. Some tribes also referred to this full moon as the Full Hunger Moon because it was very difficult to hunt with all the snow.
  • Full Worm Moon—March 8th, 4:39 a.m. This was name because the ground begins to soften and the earthworm casts begin to reappear, which invites the return of the robin. The tribes more in the northern area called this the Full Crow Moon because the crow caw signaled the end of winter.

More on the full moon names in the coming week.