February - The Snow Moon

Snow moon

As far as naming the moons go February's "Snow Moon" is probably one of the more straightforward. Being in the depths of winter in the Northern Hemisphere February is generally considered the coldest month, but is it the snowiest?

Of course this all depends where you are. In countries such as Australia and South Africa February is the height of summer, not that it really snows in the winter much either. But these moon names date back hundreds, if not thousands of years, and originated from Europe and Native American tribes. Throughout these regions it is not at all uncommon for there to be more snow on the ground in February than other months.

As the shortest month of the year, February actually sometimes misses out on a full moon altogether. Whilst this only happens around once every twenty years the phenomena is known as a "Black Moon". To balance this out, one of the months either side of February must have a "Blue Moon", i.e. more than one full moon in a month.

February's moon is known by various other names, mostly relating to the animals seen by Native American tribes at this time of year such as "Groundhog Moon" or "Goose Moon". A more universal name is the "Hungry Moon", given food could be scarce during the depths of winter.