Strawberry Moon, 2021

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June full moon rising over the sea shore. Image credit: timeanddate.com.

This year’s ‘Strawberry Moon‘ occurs on Thursday, June 24th.

Why is June’s full moon the “Strawberry Moon“?

In North America and Europe, the name of each month’s moon is linked to nature and related to a particular season or seasonal activity. June’s full moon is known as the “Strawberry Moon” since it is during this time of year that Strawberries ripen and are thus harvested. The reference to strawberries is not related to the color of the moon as red such as a strawberry.

The red appearance of the moon in the image above is due to atmospheric reddening or extinction, the same reason for a ‘red’ sunset. The low elevation of any object, rising or setting, results in a greater path length for the light and thus more attenuation. There are two different mechanisms that contribute to this atmospheric extinction: absorption and scattering.

From Time and Date

According to some sources, a European name for this early summer month was Rose Moon, and another was Hot Moon, for the beginning of the summer heat. Other sources quote Mead Moon as the Anglo-Saxon name because this was the time for mowing the meads, or meadows.

There are several different kinds of wild strawberries. The native North American type is the Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), also known as Mountain strawberry or Common strawberry. It grows naturally in the United States, including Alaska, and Canada. It has also been exported; one popular variety, which was imported to Great Britain in the early 1900s, is called Little Scarlet.

For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Indigenous Americans, named the months according to natural aspects of the seasons or features they associated with the seasons with some of these names very similar or identical. Many of these ancient month names are used today as full moon names.

For a comprehensive list of the various Full Moon names and their respective month please visit this page.

Featured image credit: TimeAndDate.com


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