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Harvest Moon

"It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!"

~ Harvest Moon, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the start of fall and the autumnal equinox. This moon has also been variously called the Corn Moon, Gypsy Moon, Singing Moon, or the Barley Moon. A Harvest Moon may appear larger and more colourful than other moons of the year, aided by the tilt of the earth and reflections from the atmosphere. Part of its apparent large size is due to the "Moon Illusion", an optical effect which causes the Moon to appear larger nearer the horizon than it does higher up in the sky. The explanation for this effect has been pondered from ancient times with various modern hypotheses still debated. Regardless, the Harvest Moon gets its modern name from the extra light it would give to farmers which aided in the harvesting of crops. Shine on, Harvest Moon! πŸŒ• 🌾

Sep 20

Harvest Moon
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Wheat in the Night
photo courtesy of NASA
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"Shine on ... Shine on Harvest Moon, up in the sky ..."

 

If you're available for moonrise, this is the night to see a beautiful Harvest Moon.


Summer's end and the arrival of autumn in the northern hemisphere is heralded by a Harvest Moon.  A Harvest Moon tends to appear larger and more colourful than other moons of the year, aided by the tilt of the earth and reflections from the atmosphere.

 

This moon gets its name from the extra light it would give to farmers to harvest their crops. 

 

Some European peoples referred to it as the Gypsy Moon, and the Chinese called the moon the Chrysanthemum Moon because of the illusion of the colour change.


The Norse noted that the Harvest Moon was often the first full moon after the first frost of the winter seasons. They considered it to be the most powerful moon of the year and associated it with the trickster god Loki.


The Celts referred to this moon as the Singing Moon, marking the harvest festival time before Samhain, a time for celebration, singing, dancing and drinking.


By designer Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan was inspired by the colours of a Harvest Moon gone by.


For a list of of special names for moons from different cultures, click the moon over the wheat field.