No Need to Howl When You See January’s Wolf Moon

In addition to calling it the wolf moon, there are a number of other names for the first full moon of the modern calendar year.

In Anglo-Saxon culture, the full moon in January is also called “the moon after Yule.” Yule is an ancient festival usually celebrated around December 21, the winter solstice. This is an appropriate nickname, as the full moon in December – the cold moon – is called “the moon before Yule” by pagan groups.

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Another logical nickname comes from the Assiniboin people of the northern Great Plains of North America; they called it the center moon to note that it occurred roughly halfway through the cold winter season.

For even more options, you could call January’s full moon the frost exploding moon (from the Cree people), the freeze up moon (Algonquin) or the Canada goose moon (Tlingit). The Dakota people called it the hard moon for the hard crust that forms on the snow. Another nickname is the ice moon, according to NASA, not to be confused with the snow moon, which is February’s full moon. As you can see, all these names reflect a moon that appears during cold winter nights.

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