Whether a full moon in February 2023 is Snow Moon or a Sturgeon Moon is not rocket science to solve. It’s just simple physics. The second full moon of this calendar year in the earth’s northern hemisphere is known as a Snow Moon. This February full moon will occur on Sunday, February 05 at 13:29 Eastern Standard Time (EST).
On the flip side, for the people living in the southern hemisphere: let’s say for Australian people, they call the full moon in February a Sturgeon Moon. In the earth’s southern area, the sturgeon moon will occur on Monday, February 06, at 05:29 at Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)
Why Different Full Moon Names in Different Hemispheres?
Just because there is approx 6 months of seasonal difference 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 February 2023 – Snow Moon in Northern Hemisphere
In the northern hemisphere, the full moon in February is known as Snow Moon. WHY? Because during this month of the year, you can see a large amount of snow on the ground.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, in the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver, who had visited with the Naudowessie (Dakota), wrote that the name used for this period was the Snow Moon, “because more snow commonly falls during this month than any other in the winter.”
Other Cultural Full Moon Names for February 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 February is known as Magha Purnima. Not to mention, the full moon in Hindi is known as Purnima.
- English Medival people call it a storm moon.
- Chinese people call February full moon a Budding Moon.
- Dakotah people call it the Moon of the Raccoon or Moon When Trees Pop.
- Cherokee tribe people call it the Bony Moon.
- Colonial American People call it the Trapper’s Moon.
- Choctaw tribe people call it the Little Famine 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. Wanna 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 February 2023 – Sturgeon Moon in Southern Hemisphere
In the southern hemisphere, the full moon in February is known as Full Sturgeon Moon or Sturgeon Moon. WHY? Because during this time of the year, there could be a large number of freshwater fishes can be found in the lakes as well as in the rivers, especially Lake Sturgeons. Hence, named Sturgeon Moon.
Just to let you know that the sturgeons are nowadays classified as highly vulnerable and critically endangered to extinction. Therefore, because of their overfishing, and, of course, harvesting for sturgeon caviars, several countries have enacted strict laws against the poaching, harvesting, and, as well as smuggling of Sturgeon fish.
Other Cultural Full Moon Names for February 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 February is known as DASSIE 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 Sunday, February 05 at 13:29 Eastern Standard Time (EST). It will be known as the Snow Moon. Okay, for northerners, it will be a Snow Moon. But, for the southerner, it will be a Sturgeon Moon.
Therefore, for southerners, it will occur on Monday, February 06, at 05:29 at Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). In addition, on this day, the moon will be in Leo. At last, I wish you good luck with this epic moon gazing.
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