A Worm Moon, the last full moon of winter, hangs in the sky this week. Its other names include Death and Sugar Moon.

orange full moon rises behind eiffel tower
The full moon, known as the "Super Pink Moon" rises behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.Christian Hartmann/Reuters
  • A Worm Moon rising in the sky Monday and Tuesday night is the last full moon of winter.

  • The March full moon is also called the Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, or Death Moon.

  • People across North America and Europe have named full moons to track the seasons and months for thousands of years.

"Worm Moon" is one of several names for the March full moon rising in the sky Monday and Tuesday — the last full moon of winter.

earthworms in a pile on dirt
Earthworms consume and convert organic material into fertilizer in Hong Kong.Bobby Yip/Reuters

The Worm Moon will appear full and bright on Monday and Tuesday nights, peaking in brightness at 7:42 a.m. Eastern Time.

Across North America and Europe, people have used full moons to track months and seasons for thousands of years, naming each one based on the seasonal changes it indicates.

person takes phone photo of another person holding a child in front of yellow full moon
Tourists take pictures as a full moon rises in Moscow, Russia.Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

The names assigned to full moons are often attributed to the native Algonquian peoples, who share a family of languages and originate from the area that today ranges from New England as far west as Lake Superior.

Colonial settlers across North America adopted their own version of the indigenous names, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Here are some of the many names assigned to full moons throughout the year.

full moon rises above dark tree hillside
A full moon rises over Dajti Mountain in Tirana, Albania.Florion Goga/Reuters

Different languages and cultures characterized their moons differently, sometimes based on agricultural cycles, sometimes on natural phenomena.

March: Worm Moon, Sap Moon, Crow Moon

maple tapping massachusetts
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker urges sap to come out of a maple tree during an event at Hollis Hill Farm in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.REUTERS/Brian Snyder

As spring approaches, earthworms emerge from the ground, maple trees are ripe for tapping, and migratory birds return as winter ends. According to the Almanac, that's led Ojibwe people to call this the Sugar Moon, Algonquin or Cree to call it the Eagle Moon or Goose Moon, and northern Ojibwe to call it the Crow Comes Back Moon.

European settlers with religious calendars called this the Lenten Moon.

According to NASA, "other names are the Chaste Moon or the Death Moon, related to the fasting of Lent and traditions from when the start of spring was the end of the old year and start of the new."

The next one: March 7, 2023

April: Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon

pink flower spring Phlox_Paniculata
Phlox flowers bloom in early spring.Wikimedia Commons

The pink moon is named for the pink phlox flowers that bloom in spring. The other names refer to additional staples of the changing season: growing grass, birds filling nests with eggs, and fish that swim upstream to spawn.

The next one: April 6, 2023

May: Flower Moon, Planting Moon

REUTERS/Mike Blake

In May, flowers burst fully into bloom and it becomes time to sow crops again.

The next one: May 5, 2023

June: Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon, Hot Moon

picking strawberries vermont
A family picks strawberries at the Legare Farm Stand in Calais, Vermont, June 21, 2007.AP Photo/Toby Talbot

Strawberries ripen for picking in June. Europeans dubbed this the rose moon, and other cultures called it the hot moon because it harkens summer heat ahead.

The next one: June 3, 2023

July: Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Hay Moon

Reuters best wildlife animal images of 2015 deer
Young stag deer clash antlers during the annual rut in Richmond Park in west London, Britain, October 16, 2015. The Royal Park has had Red and Fallow deer present since 1529, and early autumn sees the rutting or breeding season begin amongst the herd of over six hundred animals.REUTERS/Toby Melville

Deer grow new, velvety antlers in July, and thunderstorms rage aplenty in some parts of North America. For Anglo-Saxons, July was all about hay.

The next one: July 3, 2023

August: Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon

sturgeon fish
Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student Matt Balazik gets ready to toss a 70-lb Atlantic sturgeon into the James River near Charles City, Virginia, October 8, 2010.AP Photo/Steve Helber

Tribes near the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain knew August was the best time to catch sturgeon, an enormous, hearty fish. Some people also think the moon appears more reddish in color this month because of the heat.

The next one: August 1, 2023

September: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon, Barley Moon

Amish harvest corn in Maryland
Amish people harvest corn in Maryland. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Over the millennia, September's full moon has signified to farmers that it's time to finish harvesting corn and other crops. A Harvest Moon sometimes occurs in October (the moon doesn't follow the Gregorian calendar), but it's always the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.

Because the harvest moon rises with the setting sun, it looks larger than usual. These bright moonlit nights give farmers a little extra time to harvest their crops.

The next ones: September 29, 2023

October: Hunter's Moon, Blood Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Travel Moon

hunting shooting guns dogs pheasants
A man shoots at pheasants flying overhead during a pheasant hunt in Stokenchurch, southern England.Eddie Keog/REUTERS

These names refer to the time of year when leaves have fallen, the deer are fat, and animals are coming into harvested fields to eat what's left. Historically, hunters took advantage of October to store meat for the winter.

The next one: October 28, 2023

November: Beaver Moon, Frosty Moon

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A Canadian beaver chews through a tree in Gatineau Park, Quebec.Wikimedia Commons

Beavers prepare for winter in November, as do trappers. This moon signaled the time to catch beavers and secure a supply of warm furs before the swamps froze.

The next one: November 27, 2023

December: Cold Moon, Long Night's Moon

full moon snow moon december
The moon sets behind a mountain at sunrise in Lake Louise, Alberta on December 2, 2009.Andy Clark/REUTERS

December has the longest, darkest nights of the year, and the moon sits above the horizon longer than usual. Some Europeans and their descendants in North America also called the December full moon the "moon before Yule."

The next one: December 26, 2023

January: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon

John Moore/Getty Images

In mid-winter, as the story goes, hungry wolves would gather outside villages in North America and medieval Europe and howl into the night. This full moon was sometimes also called the "moon after Yule."

The next one: January 25, 2024

February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon

snow moon february full moon
The full "Snow Moon" rises above the Hudson River and the town of Irvington, New York, February 3, 2015.Mike Segar/REUTERS

In North America, February marks the depths of winter, when snow blankets the ground and fresh food was traditionally harder to come by. Because it's a shorter month, some February's don't have a full moon at all.

The next one: February 24, 2024

Some full moons are called supermoons or micromoons. The contemporary terms refer to how large and small the moon looks at various points in its elliptical orbit.

Supermoon 2013
REUTERS/Paul Hanna

Supermoons occur when the moon is at perigee — the closest point to Earth. They can cause stronger ocean tides and weather events.

Micromoons are the opposite, occurring at apogee — when the moon is furthest from Earth. They can reduce the variation in spring tides by 2 inches. Micromoons appear about 14% smaller than supermoons, and sometimes seem dimmer, since the area illuminated by the sun appears 30% smaller, according to TimeandDate.com.

Since the International Astronomical Union has not officially defined supermoons or micromoons, astronomers disagree on which full moons get the designation.

The next full supermoon: July 3, 2023

The next full micromoon: February 24, 2024

Blue moons are like special bonuses. They occur every two or three years, when a month or season has one extra full moon.

Blue Moon
Wikimedia Commons

When an astronomical season (the time between solstice and equinox) has four full moons instead of the normal three, the third one is a seasonal blue moon.

When a calendar month has two full moons, the second one is a monthly blue moon. That happens because the lunar month is only 29 days long, while the Gregorian calendar month is usually 30 or 31 days long.

The moon doesn't actually appear blue on these occasions. That would only happen if dust or smoke particles of a particular size cloud the atmosphere, say after a forest fire, volcanic eruption, or dust storm.

The next seasonal blue moon: August 19, 2024

The next monthly blue moon: August 30, 2023

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