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The Moon of Many Names: Cultural Variations of Names for the Full Moon

“What’s in a name?” - Juliet, Romeo and Juliet

Apparently, there’s quite a bit to a name according to the many cultures past and present. The moon is a constant no matter where you are in the world and it has held cultural significance throughout history, and people have celebrated it through ages by giving each full moon of the year a special name.

Native American

The orb floating in our nighttime sky is simply “the moon,” but as it wanes and waxes throughout the year, each full moon can be known by many special names.

Native American names for the full moons might be the most familiar names for most. For example, the March full moon, is known as the “Worm Moon.”  Fun Fact: This Worm Moon is the last Supermoon of the year and it coincides with the spring equinox which will have some calling it the Equinox Super Worm Moon -- quite the mouthful!

From the whimsically illustrated diagram of all the Native American full moons, it’s easy to see that they are named with the seasons and the natural world. It makes total sense because those are the things that would have had great effect on their daily lives. And in many ways, other cultures have named the full moon in much the same way, but differently.


Ancient Celtic traditions named the March full moon the “Moon of Winds” or sometimes, “Lenten (lengthening) Moon.” Again, mother nature is behind the naming of the Celtic full moon, as winds tend to blow hard as the days start to grow longer throughout the month.


Chinese names for full moons have whimsy. The Sleepy Moon graces the skies in March in China, to make way for the Peony Moon in April, then the Dragon Moon in May. These names may be based on folklore, which are often stories that explain the forces of nature.

What’s in a name?

Every full moon of the year is a special event, sometimes the satellite shines bigger and brighter but it never fails to draw our eyes up in the night sky. It’s clear the moon is important to many people and cultures around the world with hundreds of variations of names of each of the full moons that occur throughout the year.

In celebration of the Super Worm Moon check out Moonglow’s Supermoon Simplicity Necklace that seemingly glows bigger and brighter.


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