Tonight make sure to look up to the sky! As the year draws to a close, one more full moon will rise to illuminate the night skies. December’s full moon, also known as the Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon, is the longest full moon of the year. Rising December 26th, 2023, it will reach peak illumination at 7:33 p.m. ET.
Where Does December’s Full Moon Get Its Name?
According to Farmer’s Almanac, moon names come from Native Americans. Traditionally, Native Americans used the monthly Moons and nature’s corresponding signs as a calendar to track the seasons.
December’s full moon is most commonly called the Cold Moon, a Mohawk name that conveys the frigid conditions of this time of year when cold weather truly begins to grip us.
Comparatively, it is also called the Long Night Moon, since it rises during the “longest” nights of the year during the winter solstice. This year’s winter solstice was on Dec 21st.
Other names that allude to the cold and snow include Drift Clearing Moon (Cree), Frost Exploding Trees Moon (Cree), Moon of the Popping Trees (Oglala), Hoar Frost Moon (Cree), Snow Moon (Haida, Cherokee), and Winter Maker Moon (Western Abenaki).
Other names include Moon When the Deer Shed Their Antlers (Dakota) and Little Spirit Moon(Anishinaabe).
Moreover, in Europe, ancient pagans called the December full Moon the “Moon Before Yule” in honor of the Yuletide festival celebrating the return of the sun heralded by the winter solstice.
How To See The Cold Moon?
To see tonight’s Cold Moon is quite simple– just look up at the sky! Of course, if you have a telescope or binoculars, you’ll be able to get a more detailed and astonishing view.
The Cold Moon will reach peak illumination at 7:33 p.m. ET and will remain full until Thursday. Visit Time and Date for exact moonrise times based on your location.