Moon

February 1865 is the only month in history not to have a full moon

Full moons are traditionally associated with temporal insomnia, insanity (hence the terms lunacy and lunatic) and various “magical phenomena” such as lycanthropy. Psychologists, however, have found that there is no strong evidence for effects on human behavior around the time of a full moon. They find that studies are generally not consistent, with some showing a positive effect and others showing a negative effect. In one instance, the 23 December 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal published two studies on dog bite admission to hospitals in England and Australia. The study of the Bradford Royal Infirmary found that dog bites were twice as common during a full moon, whereas the study conducted by the public hospitals in Australia found that they were less likely.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

The Maine Farmers’ Almanac from c. the 1930s began to publish “Indian” full moon names. The Farmers’ Almanac (since 1955 published in Maine, but not the same publication as the Maine Farmers’ Almanac) continues to do so.

An early list of “Indian month names” was published in 1918 by Daniel Carter Beard in his The American Boy’s Book of Signs, Signals and Symbols for use by the boy scouts. Beard’s “Indian” month names were:

January: Difficulty, Black Smoke; February: Racoon, Bare Spots on the Ground; March: Wind, Little Grass, Sore-Eye; April: Ducks, Goose-Eggs; May: Green Grass, Root-Food; June: Corn-Planting, Strawberry; July: Buffalo (Bull), Hot Sun; August: Harvest, Cow Buffalo; September: Wild Rice, Red Plum; October: Leaf-Falling, Nuts; November: Deer-Mating, Fur-Pelts, December: Wolves, Big Moon.

Such names have gained currency in American folklore. They appear in print more widely outside of the almanac tradition from the 1990s in popular publications about the Moon. Mysteries of the Moon by Patricia Haddock (“Great Mysteries Series”, Greenhaven Press, 1992) gave an extensive list of such names along with the individual tribal groups they were supposedly associated with. Haddock supposes that certain “Colonial American” moon names were adopted from Algonquian languages (which were formerly spoken in the territory of New England), while others are based in European tradition (e.g. the Colonial American names for the May moon, “Milk Moon”, “Mother’s Moon”, “Hare Moon” have no parallels in the supposed native names, while the name of November, “Beaver Moon” is supposedly based in the Algonquin).

The individual names given in Farmers’ Almanac include:

January: “Wolf Moon” (this is the name of December in Beard 1918) ¬†also “Old Moon”

February: “Snow Moon”, also “Hunger Moon”

March: “Worm Moon”, “Crow Moon”, “Sap Moon”, “Lenten Moon”

April: “Seed Moon”, “Pink Moon”, “Sprouting Grass Moon”, “Egg Moon” (c.f. “Goose-Egg” in Beard 1918), “Fish Moon”

May: “Milk Moon”, “Flower Moon”, “Corn Planting Moon”

June: “Mead Moon”, “Strawberry Moon” (c.f. Beard 1918), “Rose Moon”, “Thunder Moon”

July: “Hay Moon”, “Buck Moon”, “Thunder Moon”

August: “Corn Moon”, “Sturgeon Moon”, “Red Moon”, “Green Corn Moon”, “Grain Moon”

September: “Harvest Moon”, “Full Corn Moon”,

October: “Hunter’s Moon”, “Blood Moon”/”Sanguine Moon”

November: “Beaver Moon”, “Frosty Moon”

December: “Oak Moon”, “Cold Moon”, “Long Nights Moon”

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