First Full Moon in October 2020: Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon?

Obviously, you would be wondering why the first half of my article’s headline is the first full moon in October 2020. Simply because we have two full moons in October 2020. Well, in a one-liner, I would say that it’s a rare case scenario.

In other words, it happens every 3 years due to the adjustments we have to do between the solar and lunar calendars. Well, technically speaking, not after every 3 years. Don’t worry, I will tell you the details in the later section.

Now, let’s talk about the second half of my article’s headline. Is the first full moon in October 2020 a harvest moon or a hunter’s moon? Again, in a one-liner, the first full moon in October 2020 is a Harvest moon, not a hunter’s moon.

According to the traditional guidelines of the Native American Culture, a full moon that occurs closest to the September Equinox (Autumnal Equinox) is known as the harvest moon. Not to mention, there are some other reasons too.

In order to get all the answers to the questions that are popping in your mind right now, Stick with me till the end. And, don’t forget to share it with your friends. Let’s dive in…!!!

 

First Full Moon in October 2020: Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon?

Here are the lists of subjects, I will be covering in this article.

  • 13 full moons in a year / Adhik Maas ( Extra Lunar Month)
  • Why harvest moon, not hunter’s moon
  • First full moon after September Equinox 2020
  • Different names for the full moon in October
  • When is the next full moon?

 

13 Full Moons in a Year / Adhik Maas (Extra Lunar Month)

13-full-moons-in-2020
Credit: YouTube

Let’s talk about the first half of my article’s headline. Why in actuality, we have two full moons in October this year. ANY IDEA? Nope. I will tell you exactly why…!!!

Okay, let’s start with some basics. Each day, we (Earthlings) observe the changing phase of the moon i.e from new moon to full moon to new moon, which is scientifically known as the lunar phases of the moon.

This whole process of ever-changing moon phases around the earth takes exactly 29.62 days. This is what we call a lunar month. Therefore, making a lunar year approximately equal to 355 days and 8 hours.

On the contrary, a solar year or Gregorian year comprises 365 days and 6 hours. As a result, just to make things easy and also to synchronize the lunar year with the solar year, we generally say a lunar month lasts for a month.

Hence, we get 12 full moons each year i.e one full moon each month. But, in reality, with each passing year, what we get is 10 or 11 spare days. Therefore, just to compensate for these additional days, we add one extra lunar month or Adhik Maas after every 3 years.

According to the Hindu Calendar, Adhik Maas means Extra Month. In other words, in the Hindi language, Adhik means Extra and Maas means Month.

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So, I can summarize that we get two full moons in October 2020 because we have an extra full moon this year due to the adjustment we have to do to synchronize the lunar calendar with the solar calendar.

Well, as I said in the introductory paragraph, technically, the extra lunar month (Adhik Maas) does not come after every 3 years. I mean if you do some simple maths, you will find that this additional full moon phenomenon occurs every 32.5 months, not every 3 years.

 

Why Harvest Moon, not Hunter’s Moon?

october-full-moon-harvest-moon-not-hunters-moon
Credit: Idea Envy

Now, let’s talk about the second half of my article’s headline. Is the first full moon in October 2020 a harvest moon or a hunter’s moon? Well, I have already given you the answer to this question in the introductory paragraph. It’s the harvest moon, not the hunter’s moon.

Take a look, Hence, That’s How Was The Moon Formed…!!!

Obviously, you would be thinking that why the first full moon in October 2020 is the harvest moon…!!! I will tell you exactly why!!! In order to give you a complete description, let me tell you the fundamental criterion behind the naming scheme of full moons.

See, under normal circumstances, there are three criteria. First, the full moon in September is known as Harvest Moon. Second, the October full moon is known as Hunter’s moon.

The third, and most important one, the closest full moon to Autumnal Equinox (September Equinox) is the Harvest moon. But, you can see, as I have already explained in the above section, that this year is not like a regular year. It’s an exceptional year.

Must read, The Invisible Phase of The Moon – The New Moon

Take a note here, Under exceptional circumstances, first and second criteria can be changed. But the third, and the most important one will go unchanged.

Hence, due to the additional lunar month or Adhik Maas, we have to change the whole scheme of Naming criteria. As a result, instead of being a Harvest moon, September full moon becomes a Corn Moon. Similarly, instead of being Hunter’s moon, October’s full moon becomes a Harvest moon.

And, the additional full moon that we get this year becomes the hunter’s moon. The additional or second full moon will occur on Saturday, October 31, 2020. In fact, when there are two full moons in one month, the second full moon is also known as the Blue Moon.

 

First Full Moon After September Equinox 2020

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Earth’s tilt is the reason for season/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the scientific revolution, we know that earth is round, rather than the orthodoxal geocentrism. Therefore, as a consequence, the earth is bound to have two hemispheres.

Obviously, you would be thinking that why in the hell I am talking about the earth’s curvature and its hemispheres. I mean, is this information relevant to this article. I would say yes. And, I will tell you how…!!! There is a catch.

In fact, not just one, there are two catches for you. First, Earth’s tilt is the reason for the season on earth. That’s why we Earthlings enjoy different seasons in a calendar year.

Second, Just because earth is round, and, of course, earth has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees, when there is summer in the northern hemisphere; exactly at the same time, there is winter in the southern hemisphere. And, vice versa.

Therefore, as a result, the relevance of the first full moon in October 2020 changes depending on the fact that on which hemisphere you live upon. CONFUSED?? Let’s sort it out…!!!

 

Autumn Moon in Northern Hemisphere

autumnal-equinox-first-day-of-fall
Autumn season in Indian Union Territory Of Jammu and Kashmir/Credit: Kashmir Tour Packages

As if you are living in the northern hemisphere (so do I), we can feel that summer is almost gone. In other words, in the northern hemisphere, the September equinox marks the end of summer, therefore, the arrival of fall.

That’s why in the northern hemisphere, September equinox is known as Fall Equinox or simply Autumnal Equinox. As a consequence, the first full moon in October after the September equinox becomes a Harvest moon or Autumn Moon.

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Simply because, after the occurrence of the September equinox, in the northern hemisphere, days are getting shorter and nights are getting longer. In other words, days will become shorter and shorter with each passing day.

 

Spring Moon in Southern Hemisphere

spring-equinox-southern-hemisphere
An Australian beach In January, A month which is considered as the coldest one in the northern hemisphere/Credit: Conde Nast Traveler

As I said, due to the earth’s curvature and, of course, because of Earth’s Obliquity, when there is winter in the northern hemisphere, there is summer in the southern hemisphere.

Therefore, if you are living in the southern hemisphere, you can feel that winter is almost gone. In other words, in the southern hemisphere, the September equinox marks the end of winter, therefore, the arrival of spring.

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That’s why in the southern hemisphere, the September equinox is known as Vernal Equinox or simply Spring Equinox. As a consequence, instead of being a harvest moon, the first full moon in October after September Equinox is known as a Worm Moon or Spring Moon.

Because this Full Worm Moon marks the end of the winter season or one can say cold weather starts to clear slightly. In other words, you can say that days are getting longer and longer with each passing day.

 

Different Names For The Full Moon in October

Different people have given different names to the October full moon; of course, depending upon their native place, culture, and, their lifestyle.

Western Culture

As per native American traditions, the October full moon goes by the name of Full harvest Moon. Because this is the time when normally harvesting takes place before the arrival of the autumn season. I mean, the winter is near.

Therefore, should harvest all the crops and necessary things for the upcoming months-long winter season. Similarly, other western cultures also refer to the full moon in this month as Travel Moon or Dying grass moon. During October full moon, Moon will be In Aries.

 

Eastern Culture

As I am an Indian. Therefore, I would like to give the Indian perception about the first full moon in October 2020. In India, the full moon is known as Purnima or Poornima. In other words, you can say that the full moon in Hindi is famously known as Purnima.

Well, technically speaking, there is no formal name for this Adhik Maas or extra lunar month’s Full moon. Simply because it does not occur every year.

On the contrary, Whenever this extra lunar month phenomenon occurs, it gets the name of the month. In other words, Adhik Maas 2020 is occurring from 18 September to 16 October 2020.

Therefore, according to the Hindu calendar 2020, the first full moon in this month is memorably known as Adhik Aswin Purnima (September/October).

This extra lunar month is dedicated to Lord Purushottam i.e God Vishnu. That’s why in India, this Adhik Maas or Extra Lunar Month is also known as Purushottam Maas i.e month of Lord Purushottam or Vishnu.

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During this auspicious Adhik Maas, a month-long Fair (Mela) is celebrated In Machhegaun Village in Nepal. Nepali people believe that one can totally wash away their sins by taking a bath in the pond at the Machhenarayan temple i.e God Vishnu Temple.

According to the Hindu calendar 2020, the first full moon in October 2020 will be in Mesha Rashi which is equivalent to Aries.

 

When is the next full moon?

The next full moon will occur on Friday, October 1, 2020, and is known as the full harvest moon. It will be 100% illuminated, but it may look a bit smaller. Because the moon will be at Apogee i.e the moon will be at the farthest point from the earth. That’s why the first full moon in October 2020 is also known as Full Micro Moon.

As I said, we will be having 13 full moons during this calendar year. Apart from Harvest Moon, the other full moon names are Wolf Moon, Snow Moon, Worm Moon, Pink Moon, Flower Moon, Strawberry MoonBuck Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Corn Moon, Hunter’s Moon (Blue moon), Beaver Moon, and Cold Moon.

Just to make sure that you don’t get confused with full moon names, I have written all the full moon names in a hierarchical manner. Like the January full moon is called a wolf moon and so on.

At last, I wish you good luck with this epic moon gazing. And, do let me know about your amazing experience in the comment section. Even you should try to calculate how much this full moon is smaller as compared to the normal full moons.

That’s it for this post. If you like this article, share it if you like it, like it if you share it. You can also find us on Mix, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

7 thoughts on “First Full Moon in October 2020: Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon?”

  1. Very interesting to me. I mean, I never knew there is so much to know about the moon cycles apart from that full moon comes once in a month. It is very curious to learn.

    Reply

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