Back in the 1930s, the Maine Farmers’ Almanac began to publish “Indian” full moon names. The practice continues in the Farmers’ Almanac (not the same publication). They say that the earliest print list of Indian month names  was published in 1918 by Daniel Carter Beard in his book, The American boys’ book of signs, signals and symbols, which was printed for use by the Boy Scouts. (Interestingly, you can read it today on your Kindle.)

Although Beard’s list is hardly definitive and may not even be accurate, these month names have become part of pop culture. That original list read as follows:

January: Moon of Difficulty, Black Smoke; February: Raccoon, 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.

It seems that some of the moon names used by Colonial Americans were adopted from the eastern Algonquian Indian languages, but others were clearly based in European traditions. Beaver Moon is similar to the November Moon name of the Algonquin, but names like May’s Milk Moon are clearly European-based.


The Farmers’ Almanac list is a combination of Indian and Colonial names.

January: “Wolf Moon” (this is the name of December in Beard 1918)[15] 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” “Fish Moon”
May: “Milk Moon”, “Flower Moon”, “Corn Planting Moon”
June: “Mead Moon”, “Strawberry Moon,” “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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