February 28, 2021



Wolf Moon photos from around the Bay Area

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The final full moon of a year goes by many names, according to NASA. In the northern and eastern United States, the Algonquin tribes named it the Wolf Moon after the packs of wolves that howled outside villages in winter. Indigenous tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinct names to each full moon throughout the year and applied those names to the entire month, Space.com postponements. By month, the full moon in December is also called the Cold Moon.

In pre-christian Europe meanwhile, the December Moon was named after the Yule, a three-day winter solstice festival. The 10th Century King Haakon Haraldsson, who also went by Haakon the Good, associated Yule with Christmas and by extension the Christianization of Norway. That association spread throughout other European countries, while an older English name for this moon is the Old Moon.

The Long Night Moon nickname refers to its proximity to the winter solstice, when the days are shorter than any other time of year. From December 29 to 30, the moon remained visible in the sky for 15 hours and 27 minutes, which made it the longest full moon of the year by that measurement.

Hindus know this full moon as Dattya Jayanti, a name that commemorates the birth day of the god Dattatreya (Datta). Buddhists in Sri Lanka refer to this moon as Unduvap Poya to commemorate the arrival of Sangamitta Theri, who brought a Bo-tree sapling from the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodi in India during the month of Unduwap. Theri, the daughter of Emperor Ashoka and founder of an order of Buddhist nuns in Sri Lanka, delivered what would become the oldest living human-planted tree with a known planting date.

Check the NASA site for more details on the monikers cultures around the world have given the December full moon throughout history.