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Snow Moon: February’s full moon

2 min read

Every full moon has at least one nickname, dating back to the days when Native American tribes and Colonial Americans would name each moon based on weather conditions, farming routines and hunting trends. Do you remember, for istance, “Wolf Moon”, the first full moon of the year, or “Harvest Moon”?

While January is traditionally the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere, the heaviest snow usually falls a month later, not by chance, on February. It’s not a coincidence then that the name for February’s full moon among Native American tribes of the north and east was the Full Snow Moon.
Although “snow moon” is its most common nickname, because February is typically a snowy month in North America, some Native American tribes called the February full moon the “hunger moon” or the “little famine moon” because the harsh weather made it tougher for hunters to find food.
Other nicknames include the “storm moon,” the “bone moon,” but also the “no snow in the trails moon”. The bone moon meant that there was so little food that people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup.
Others say early American colonists also referred to the February full moon as the “trapper’s moon,” literally because the optimal time for trapping beaver, fox and mink, was the dead of winter, when these animals’ coats were at their fullest.