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The 'Full Wolf Moon' is up ... and it's beautiful

January 13, 2012

Amid the cold and deep snow sof midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Native villages. Thus, the name for January's full Moon. Photo/Jesse Barlet
The Wolf Moon is the name given by Native Americans to a full moon that occurs in January. Native Americans chose this name because they heard hungry wolf packs howl outside the villages. This full moon is also known as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule.
 
Full Moon names date back to Native Americans of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes 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. 
 
There was some variation in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquian tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is roughly 29.5 days long on the average, the full moon dates shift from year to year.
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