corn moon

The Moon reaches its fullness today, July 12, at 01:24:54 pm, but until darkness falls we don’t give the Moon much thought.

That wasn’t always true. Going back 200 years or more to the naming of Full Moons and you can see how their appearance was strongly attached to the nature – flora and fauna – that provided sustenance and life.

On our continent. the names of the moons indicate what each native tribe thought was important in the season in their area. Names might apply to the weather, crops and food they could gather and animal activities.

July for many tribes was the time of summer crops, mainly corn, which begins to ripen for the first harvest and was the staple crop for many American Indian tribes.


The name “chokeberry” comes from the astringency of the fruits, which create a sensation making your mouth pucker.

Look at these tribal Moon names:

Abenaki –Grass Cutter Moon
Algonquin –Squash Are Ripe Moon
Cherokee –Ripe Corn Moon
Choctaw –Little Harvest Moon, Crane Moon
Comanche –Hot Moon
Cree –Moon When Ducks Begin to Molt
Dakota Sioux –Moon of the Middle Summer
Haida –Salmon Moon
Kalapuya –Camas Ripe (the bulb of the camas lily was a staple food to the Kalapuya)
Lakota –Moon When The Chokecherries Are Black
Mohawk –Time of Much Ripening
Ponca –Middle of Summer Moon
Potawatomi –Moon of the Young Corn
Shoshone –Summer Moon

Roasting ears of corn are ready and this was once the traditional time of the “Green Corn Dance” or festival for some tribes. The New World colonists called it the Corn Tassel Moon (similar to the Potawatomi  of the upper Mississippi River and Western Great Lakes region), which indicates that corn was not as far along for Northeastern settlers as it was for tribes such as the Southwestern Cherokee. Some farming colonists referred to this as the Hay Moon.

It is early for a “Harvest Moon” here in Paradelle. In Britain, it is more common to say “autumn” while Americans generally say “fall” but the older word for the season after summer is harvest and this Full Moon signals the start of harvesting. I’ll be picking my first tomatoes in another week.

Here in Paradelle, it has been more of a Thunder Moon month with the hot, humid days producing lots of thunderstorms.

Last year, I wrote about this being the Moon When Bucks Are in Velvet, which seems to me to be a quite Romantic name based on male deer beginning to show antlers which covered in their “velvet” stage.

All Full Moon names are Romantic is some way. After all, paying attention to the stars, the planets, nature and the phases of the Moon has become a rarer and somewhat Romantic (in that capital R way) in itself.