The Full Moon & Its Many Names, Explained

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Each full moon brings something new with it, whether that's a new opportunity or momentous personal change. But the full moon doesn't always have to be earth-shattering: There's something very familiar, even comforting, about the lunar cycle. For one thing, it's pretty easy to keep track of the moon's comings and goings. For another, every month's full moon has had the same name for as long as anyone can remember.
Although we tend to think of full moon names in a spiritual context nowadays, they actually served a practical purpose for a very long time. According to the Farmer's Almanac, many of the full moon names that we use today have their roots in the traditions of Native American tribes and Pagan or other nature-based faiths. And, while some of these names came with corresponding celebrations, they were chiefly a way to keep track of the time of year.
The only time a full moon doesn't have a corresponding name is when a second full moon occurs in a month. For example, next January will see two full moons: one on January 1 and another on January 31. The first moon will be referred to as the Wolf Moon, Cold Moon, and Hunger Moon (more on that later), but the second will simply be a "blue moon," another term for a month's second full moon. (It's for the same reason that February 2018 will see no full moon at all.)
As meaningful as each full moon is, it can be difficult to keep all of their names straight. Ahead, we take a closer look at each month's full moon, its corresponding names and symbols, and why it's important to celebrate.