Full moon names for 2024 (and how they came to be)

Large fully illuminated moon with large craters against a black background.
Close up image of full moon in the Northern Hemisphere as seen from a private observatory in central Europe. (Image credit: Smartshots International/Getty Images)

Full moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. 

Those tribes of a few hundred years ago kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. 

To be sure, there were some variations in the moon names, but in general the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names. 

Since the lunar ("synodic") month is roughly 29.5 days in length on average, the dates of the full moon shift from year to year. 

Here is a listing of all the full moon names, as well as the dates and times (for the Eastern time zone) for the next twelve months.

Jan. 25: Full Wolf Moon

Full Wolf Moon in the Netherlands lights up the January clear winter sky on Jan. 17, 2022. (Image credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Jan. 25 at 12:54 p.m. EST (1754 GMT) 

Amid the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.  It was also known as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule. In some tribes this was the Full Snow Moon; most applied that name to the next moon. 

Feb. 24: Full Snow Moon

Feb. 24 at 7:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT) 

Usually, the heaviest snows fall in this month.  Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes, this was the Full Hunger Moon.  

March 25: Full Worm Moon

The Full Worm Moon rises behind the Empire State Building in Manhattan of New York City, United States on March 18, 2022. (Image credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

March 25 at 3:00 a.m. EST (0700 GMT) 

In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins.  The more northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. 

April 23: Full Pink Moon

April 23 at 7:49 p.m. EDT  (2349 GMT)

The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring.  Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and  — among coastal tribes  — the Full Fish Moon, when the shad came upstream to spawn. This is also the first full moon of spring  —  the so-called Paschal Moon. Ecclesiastical rules mandate that the first Sunday after this moon is Easter, and so it will be on the 9th. 

May 23: Full Flower Moon

The Full Flower Moon on Sunday, May 15, 2022 in North Port, Florida. (Image credit: Nurphoto/Getty Images)

May 23 at 9:53 a.m. EDT (1353 GMT)

Flowers are abundant everywhere.  It was also known as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.

June 21: Full Strawberry Moon

The full moon of June, also known as the Strawberry Moon, looms above Earth's horizon in this photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. The image was captured on June 17 as the space station was orbiting 254 miles (409 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Guam.  (Image credit: NASA)

June 21 at 9:08 p.m. EDT  (0108 GMT on June 22)

Known to every Algonquin tribe.  Europeans called it the Rose Moon. Strawberry picking season peaks during this month.

July 21: Full Buck Moon

July 21 at 6:17 a.m. EDT  (10:17 GMT)

The Full Buck Moon occurs when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, thunderstorms being now most frequent. Sometimes also called the Full Hay Moon.

Aug. 19: Full Sturgeon Moon

The Full Sturgeon Moon rises over Eindhoven, Netherlands on Aug. 11, 2022 (Image credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Aug. 19 at 2:26 p.m. EDT (1826 GMT)

The Sturgeon Moon, when this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because the moon rises looking reddish through sultry haze, or the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Sept. 17: Full Harvest Moon

The Full Harvest Moon is seen behind the silhouette of a television antenna in Marseille, France on Sept. 11, 2022. (Image credit: SOPA/Getty Images)

Sept. 17 at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 on Sept. 18)

Traditionally, this designation goes to the full moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox. In most years, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but about every four or five years it occurs in October (next time this will happen will be in 2025). At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon. 

Usually, the full moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice  —  the chief Native American staples  —  are now ready for gathering. 

Oct. 17: Full Hunter's Moon

Oct. 17 at 7:26 a.m. EDT (11:26 GMT)

With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more easily see the fox, also other animals that have come out to glean and can be caught for a Thanksgiving banquet after the harvest.

Nov. 15: Full Beaver Moon

Nov. 15 at 4:29 p.m. EST (2129 GMT)

Some accounts suggest the name Beaver Moon came from the fact that this moon signaled it was time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs! Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Full Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now active in their preparation for winter. Also called the Frosty Moon. 

Dec. 15: Full Cold Moon

A night view of Mount Erek as the Full Cold Moon appears in the sky in Van, Turkey on Dec. 07, 2022.  (Image credit: Andalou Agency/Getty Images)

Dec. 15 at 4:02 a.m. EST (09:02 GMT)

The Full Cold Moon; among some tribes, the Full Long Nights Moon. In this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and the nights are at their longest and darkest. Also sometimes called the Moon before Yule (Yule is Christmas, and this time the moon is only just after it; the next full moon that falls on Christmas Day will come in 2034).  

The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long and the moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low sun.

Lunar cycles

Lastly, here are some interesting calendrical facts that famed astronomical calculator Jean Meeus has compiled concerning the phases of the moon. All are cyclical, the most noteworthy being the so-called Metonic Cycle that was independently discovered by the Greek astronomer Meton (born about 460 B.C.). This is a 19-year cycle, after which time the phases of the moon are repeated on the same days of the year, or approximately so. For instance, there is a full moon on Aug. 1, 2023. Nineteen years hence, in 2042 there'll be another full moon on Aug. 1.  

Another interesting cycle: after two years, the preceding lunar phase occurs on, or very nearly the same calendar date. Thus, in 2025, the First Quarter Moon will occur on Aug. 1. After eight years, the same lunar phases repeat, but occur one or two days later in the year.  The Greeks called this eight-year cycle the octaeteris. Indeed, in 2031, a full moon occurs on Aug. 2. 

Finally, in our Gregorian Calendar, 372 years provides an excellent long period cycle for the recurrence of a particular phase on a given date. Thus, we know with absolute certainty that the same full moon that shines down on us on Aug. 1 of 2023 will also be shining on Aug. 1 in the year 2395.  

Mark your calendars!

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmers' Almanac and other publications. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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Joe Rao
Skywatching Columnist

Joe Rao is Space.com's skywatching columnist, as well as a veteran meteorologist and eclipse chaser who also serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmers' Almanac and other publications. Joe is an 8-time Emmy-nominated meteorologist who served the Putnam Valley region of New York for over 21 years. You can find him on Twitter and YouTube tracking lunar and solar eclipses, meteor showers and more. To find out Joe's latest project, visit him on Twitter.

  • Truthseeker007
    Wow! Now they are naming them.lol! I like the idea of using a Native American custom.
  • Momatomic
    I. too like the Native American customs. They meant something important, and none of their names were frivolous. There is nothing new under the sun. All things merely await our recognition of their significance.
  • Daveland3D
    In the section on The Pink Moon, April 23 you wrote:
    “Ecclesiastical rules mandate that the first Sunday after this moon is Easter, and so it will be on the 9th.”

    However, the first Sunday after this moon is actually April 28.
    May 9th is not even a Sunday it’s a Thursday!
    Not to mention that Easter Sunday already happened on March 31.
    Can you please clarify?

  • Daveland3D
    Daveland3D said:
    In the section on The Pink Moon, April 23 you wrote:
    “Ecclesiastical rules mandate that the first Sunday after this moon is Easter, and so it will be on the 9th.”

    However, the first Sunday after this moon is actually April 28.
    May 9th is not even a Sunday it’s a Thursday!
    Not to mention that Easter Sunday already happened on March 31.
    Can you please clarify?

    Unless that paragraph was meant for the preceding section on the Full Worm Moon, March 25?
    In which case Easter Sunday, March 31 would be the first Sunday after this full moon.