Full Moon meaning: What is the meaning behind December’s Cold Moon?

Wolf Moon: January full moon significance explained

The last Full Moon of the year will arrive next week on the morning of Wednesday, December 30. The 12th Full Moon of the year is traditionally known as the Cold Moon, although you might also know it as the Long Night Moon or the Oak Moon. Here is everything you need to know about the lunar spectacle and the hidden meaning behind its unusual name.

When is the last Full Moon of the year?

Here in the UK, the Cold Moon will peak in brightness at about 3.28am GMT on Wednesday, December 30.

Full Moons only exists for a split moment in astronomical terms, when the Moon is 180-degrees from the Sun with the Earth in between.

But the lunar orb will appear full to the naked eye for about three nights centred on its peak.

After that, you will have to wait until January 28 for the first Full Moon of 2021.

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What is the meaning behind December’s Cold Moon?

Many of the Full Moon’s more popular names are believed to originate in the time-keeping traditions of Native American tribes.

According to US folklore, the Moons were given names that reflected seasonal changes in the landscape and wildlife.

April’s Pink Moon, for instance, was named after a type of pink flower that grows in spring.

Similarly, the Strawberry Moon in June was named after wild strawberries that would soon be ripe for picking.

The Cold Moon’s name is pretty straightforward and is named after the cold of winter settling in.

From an astronomical perspective, winter began on December 21 this year with the winter solstice.

Amy Nieskens of The Old Farmer’s Almanac said: “December’s Full Moon has at least two traditional names: the Full Cold Moon as the winter chill sets in and the temperatures begin to drop; and also the Long Nights Moon because it occurs around the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.”

In Old English and Anglo Saxon tradition, this Full Moon is also known as the Moon Before Yule.

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Yule or Yuletide is an ancient festival observed by Germanic people, and many present-day Christmas traditions can be traced to Yule.

The Cold Moon is also known as the Long Nights Moon as it falls near the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.

Bill Cooke of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center said: “The Full Moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun, so the Moon will be above the horizon longer than at other times of the year.”

On Wednesday, the Cold Moon will set by 8.36am so keep an eye out for it from 4.10pm.

When are all of the Full Moons in 2021?

Here is a list of the Full Moons and their names in the new year:

Wolf Moon – January 28

Snow Moon – February 27

Worm Moon – March 28

Pink Moon – April 27

Flower Moon – May 26

Strawberry Moon – June 24

Buck Moon – July 31

Sturgeon Moon – August 30

Harvest Moon – September 29

Hunter’s Moon – October 28

Beaver Moon – November 27

Cold Moon – December 27

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