The Moon becomes full on December 13 for 2016. This early Full Cold Moon is also the Moon Before Yule and the Full Moon Before the Solstice.
That big Moon in the night sky can be a very cold Moon. Daytime on one side of the moon lasts about 13 and a half days, followed by 13 and a half nights of darkness. The “dark side of the moon” can have temperatures dipping to minus 243 F (minus 153 C). But when sunlight hits the moon’s surface, the temperature can reach 253 degrees F (123 C).
The December full moon has been called Long Night Moon, Moon of Long Nights, Oak Moon (Medieval English), Snow Moon, Moon of the Popping Trees, Her Winter Houses Moon, Big Freezing Moon, Frost Moon, Twelfth Moon (Dakota Sioux), Christmas Moon (Colonial America), Wintermonat (Winter Month), Bitter Moon (China), Heilagmonoth (Holy Month), Dreaming Moon and Big Winter Moon.
As we approach the longest night of the year and the weather gets colder for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we should also remember that the days will soon be getting longer and the nights shorter. But it will still get colder.
For the Druids, the Full Moon in Hunlidh [hün’ lee] occurs in the third month of their year. It is called the Dreaming Moon and this is a good time for resting. The first day of Hunlidh is the day of the Full Moon and that was also when the Celts celebrated Yule.
Yule or Yuletide was a pre-Christian winter solstice festival that lasted for 12 days. In Scandinavia, winter solstice fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth, and a piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log.
In Tibet, the Feast of Lanterns is a winter festival marking the shortest days of the Sun with the lighting of many lanterns. On the old Tibetan calendar, December 1 was the beginning of a new year, so this was the first Full Moon of the year.
And if the cold weather is getting you down, consider that in the Southern Hemisphere the December full moons are the much warmer sounding Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, or Rose Moon.