January 30 is the Wolf Moon for 2010.  Native Americans named January’s full moon for the howling of hungry wolves outside villages and encampments during this time when game was often scarce because of the weather and snow.

Other names for this month’s full moon include the Old Moon, Moon After Yule, Full Snow Moon (also applied by some tribes to the February moon) and the Ice Moon.

Full Moon names were used by Native Americans to keep track of the seasons and the names applied to the entire “month” (weeks, months and other calendar organizers not being a Native American concept) that began with the full moon.

There was always some variation in the names for the moons. Tribes of the southwest and the northeast did not share the same climate, plants or animals and the names of the moons show that (see below).

The European settlers followed the custom of the natives and created names of their own for the full moons based on their own observations.

Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on average, full Moon dates shift from year to year.

Other names that I have seen for the January full moon are:
Celtic: Quite (quiet?) Moon
Cherokee: Cold Moon
Choctaw: Cooking Moon
Dakotah Sioux: Moon of the Terrible
Colonial: Winter Moon
Chinese: Holiday Moon

More information on Native American associations: Mdewakanton Dakota Community, Mendota Minnesota

Advertisements