This year we will have a Full Moon for Thanksgiving Eve, and we will have a Christmas Day Full Moon. In Paradelle, the Moon will be full tonight at 5:44 pm ET, so it really will be the eve(ning) Moon.
There are many names for this month’s Full Moon, but the idea that I start with here this year is that there are many festivals and celebration this month in Japan and China to honor the gods and goddesses of the kitchen. These celebrations honor those, usually women, who prepare the daily meals.
One such goddess is Okitsu-hime who is associated with fire, providence, kinship and health and is symbolically linked to fire sources used for cooking. She is the Shinto Goddess of kitchens in Japan and watches over all foods prepared and over family interactions to keep health and emotional warmth in the home.
With Thanksgiving, we also honor similar themes and, hopefully, those who provide and prepare our food.
Cleaning the stove, toaster, oven, and microwave is practical, but is also seen as symbolically removing sickness and negativity. Preparing the foods draws the kitchen goddess to your kitchen.
In many places around the world, the harvest is past and early winter is appearing. In Tibet, they celebrate the Feast of Lanterns which is a winter festival connected to the shortening days. I prefer not to think of this time as the Incas did as Ayamarca, or Festival of the Dead.
I collect Full Moon names and this month offers All Gathered Moon, Initiate Moon, Fog Moon, Mourning Moon, Blotmonath (Sacrifice Month), Herbistmonoth (Harvest Month), Mad Moon, and Moon of Storms.
I have a fondness for the American Indian names which are always connected to nature and sound lyrical in our English translations, such as The Moon When Deer Shed Antlers or Moon When Horns Are Broken Off (Dakotah Sioux ).
In Celtic tradition, this the Dark Moon, and Frost Moon and Snow Moon were both used in Medieval Britain.
I like the Choctaw name of Sassafras Moon for this month. The leaves and pith of the sassafras tree (native to Eastern North America) is used dried and powdered as a thickener in soups. The roots often are dried and steeped for sassafras tea that I enjoy. I recall as a child, the taste of sassafras as a flavoring in root beer. The oil of sassafras (safrole) comes from the roots and the root bark and is very pleasant tasting and scented.
Beaver Moon is probably the most common nickname used in America. It probably came from American Indians and was carried over to the colonists as the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
If you’re not a fan of hunting and trapping, you can go with another origin story which is that the Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.