Whether a full moon in January 2023 is a Wolf Moon or a Buck Moon is not rocket science to solve. It’s just simple physics. The first full moon of 2023 in the earth’s northern hemisphere is known as Wolf Moon. This January full moon will occur on Friday, January 06 at 18:08 Eastern Standard Time (EST).
On the contrary, for the people living in the southern hemisphere: let’s say for Australian people, they call the full moon in January a Buck Moon. In the earth’s southern areas, the buck moon will occur on Saturday, January 07 at 10:08 at Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
Wanna know why different full moon names in the different hemispheres and many more interesting facts about the full moon in January 2023? I would recommend you to keep reading! Let’s dive right in!!!
Why Different Full Moon Names in Different Hemispheres?
Just because there are approximately 6 months of seasonal differences between the northern and southern hemispheres, people living above and below the equator use different full moon names.
Obviously, now you would be thinking that what could be the reason behind the seasonal difference between the two hemispheres?
Well, just because the earth has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees, there is a seasonal mismatch between the southern and the northern hemisphere. See the above image for a proper understanding.
However, If you wanna know more about the earth’s tilt and how it affects the seasons on the earth, you can check this article. I can bet you will love this piece of article.
Different Full Moon Names in Northern Hemisphere
For millennia, ancient humans have used different seasons as a guide to track the different full moons. Or, you can say for millennia, humans have used the full moons to track the changing season. However, seasons are not the only possible way to define different full moon names.
What I mean is that the names given to the various full moons are based on a couple of different sources. Out of all, the most famous and widely acknowledged full moon names come from the tribes of Native American culture.
As per the legends, to keep track of changing seasons, the Algonquin tribal people used to follow the lunar calendar rather than following the solar calendar.
These full moon names were later adopted by Colonial Americans and European settlers. And, with time, these names were finally integrated with the modern (Georgian calendar) calendar.
Editor’s Choice: Full Moon Calendar 2023 (Dates & Names – Northern Hemisphere)
Full Moon in January 2023 – Wolf Moon in Northern Hemisphere
In the northern hemisphere, the full moon in January is known as Wolf Moon. WHY? Because it has been historically said that during this time of the year, native people would hear wolves howling at the moon. Hence, the full moon in this month is famously known as the Wolf Moon or simply the moon of the wolf.
However, as per the Smithsonian Institution, there is no scientific relation between the howling of the wolf and the moon. It’s a myth that wolves howl at the moon! Howling may be heard at night, but it is not a behavior directed at the moon.
Instead, it is used as a social rally call, a hail to hunt, or territorial expression. Not to mention, it will also be the first full moon after the occurrence of the Winter solstice in the earth’s northern hemisphere. That is why this month’s full moon is also known as the moon after Yule.
Other Cultural Full Moon Names for January in Northern Hemisphere
Well, if you go somewhere away from your native place, you will see that local indigenous people have their own indigenous full moon names. For example:
- In Indian Culture, the full moon in January is known as Paush Purnima. The full moon in Hindi is known as Purnima.
- English Medival people call it a Wolf Moon.
- Chinese people call the full moon in January a Holiday Moon.
- Dakotah people call it the Moon of the Terrible.
- Cherokee tribe people call it the Cold Moon.
- Colonial American People call it the Winter Moon.
- Choctaw tribe people call it the Cooking Moon, etc.
Different Full Moon Names in Southern Hemisphere
You would be baffled to know that the full moon names used in the southern hemisphere are the same as the northern hemisphere, just the seasonal difference. Want to know why???
Well, because most of the people living in the southern hemisphere (let’s say Australia or New Zealand) are none other than European settlers.
In other words, one can say that European settlers, at first, integrated the native American full moon names into their modern Georgian calendar. And, later, many of these full moon names went with them to new places around the world.
Editor’s Choice: Full Moon Calendar 2023 (Dates & Names – Southern Hemisphere)
Full Moon in January 2023 – Buck Moon in Southern Hemisphere
In the southern hemisphere, the full moon in January is known as Full Buck Moon or Buck Moon. WHY? Because during this time of the year, Buck (Male Deer) shed their old antlers and grows new ones every year.
The antlers of Buck signify their strength and influence on their female mate selection. That’s why during male-to-male competition, bucks use antlers to justify their dominance. Not to mention, the Bucks’ antlers also display their fertility competitiveness.
In other words, one can say that the larger the size of the antlers of Male Deer, the larger will be their chance of sexual display during mating season. In addition, it will also be the first full moon after the occurrence of the summer solstice in the earth’s southern hemisphere.
Other Cultural Full Moon Names for January in Southern Hemisphere
Well, if you go somewhere away from your native place, you will see that local indigenous people have their own indigenous full moon names. Sadly, that is not the case with the people living in the southern hemisphere.
Not to mention, for several days, I have been trying to get some detail regarding the full moon naming criteria for the Earth’s southern areas. But, I did not find any single piece of work related to that.
However, I did find one resource where it has been mentioned that the native people of the southern hemisphere (Māori People of New Zealand) didn’t assign a name to only the Full Moon phase of each month. Every night of the Moon had a name.
Therefore, as a result of these elaborated naming conditions, many in the Southern Hemisphere rely on European-inspired Full Moon Names.
Just to let you know, one of my friends Retha Potgieter recently told me about the update on Full moon names in South Africa. Since September 2020, South Africa have their own unique full moon names.
As per the Centre for Astronomical Heritage (CfAH), in South Africa, the full moon in January is known as MANTIS MOON. The Centre for Astronomical Heritage (CfAH) is a non-profit company working to protect South Africa’s astronomical heritage.
The Centre’s mission is to record, preserve, and disseminate information about South Africa’s tangible and intangible astronomical heritage. I would request you to visit this website at least once. They are doing nice work.
When is the Next Full Moon in 2023?
The next full moon will occur on Friday, January 06 at 18:08 Eastern Standard Time (EST). It will be known as the Wolf Moon. Okay, for northerners, it will be a Wolf Moon. But, for the southerner, it will be a Buck Moon.
Therefore, for southerners, it will occur on Saturday, January 07 at 10:08 at Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). In addition, on this day, the moon will be in Cancer. At last, I wish you good luck with this epic moon gazing.
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