Moon and Regulus

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Moon and Regulus

A full Moon lights up this mid-winter night. On snowy ground, it adds a silvery glow to the landscape. In fact, the full Moon of February is known as the Snow Moon. And because there wasn’t much to eat at this time of year, some cultures also called it the Hunger Moon.

Every full Moon has its own name. Almost all of them are based on the traits of the time of year. So during summer, we get names like Strawberry or Corn Moon. And during fall, we have the Harvest and Hunter’s Moons.

Most of those names come from a couple of sources. One is the British Isles, from Celtic and Old English. The other is from the native cultures of North America — in particular, the Algonquin of New England.

Many of the names also applied to the months of the year. According to some sources, for example, in Old English, February was the mud month. That was either because of the messy weather, or because people made cakes for the gods that looked like they were made of mud.

The American names were popularized in the early 1900s. A book for the Boy Scouts listed many Algonquin names. And later, the names became a regular feature of the Farmer’s Almanac.

So enjoy the Snow Moon as it casts its cold light across a cold winter’s night. And it has a bright companion: Regulus, the heart of the lion. It rises below the Moon. Regulus will rise closer to the right of the Moon tomorrow night.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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