July: Ripe Corn Moon

Just as the Romans felt the need to name the months of their calendar and we today feel the need to continue with those names as an easier way of marking the passage of time, so the Native American peoples also named the divisions of their calendars.  Based on the moon’s cycles, each full moon had a name, and the association for the month would last until the next full moon.

July is the month when summer crops, mainly corn, begin to ripen for the harvest.  As many people know, corn was a staple crop for many American Indian tribes, so it’s no surprise that it plays a major role in tracking the wheel of the year for them.  July is also one of the hottest months of the year for much of the Northern Hemisphere, a reminder of the sun’s power and influence on life on Earth.  While the corn is ripe or ripening in July, there are also new foods growing toward ripeness in July: tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers are a few.  The July 2010 full moon is July 25 at 9:37pm.

The names of the moons give evidence for what each tribal culture considered to be important during that time period, either the influence of the weather, or when their staple crops would grow, or when they could gather ripened food.

Abenaki–Grass Cutter Moon

Algonquin–Squash Are Ripe Moon

Cherokee–Ripe Corn Moon

Choctaw–Little Harvest Moon, Crane Moon

Comanche–Hot Moon

Cree–Moon When Ducks Begin to Molt

Dakota Sioux–Moon of the Middle Summer

Haida–Salmon Moon

Hopi–Moon of the Homedance

Kalapuya–Camas Ripe (the bulb of the camas lily was a staple food to the Kalapuya)

Lakota–Moon When The Chokecherries Are Black

Mohawk–Time of Much Ripening

Ponca–Middle of Summer Moon

Potawatomi–Moon of the Young Corn


Farmer’s Almanac says this month’s moon is also known as Full Buck Moon, Full Thunder Moon, and Full Hay Moon.

*I’m not an expert on Native American culture or practices, though I have been interested and studying some of their practices/traditions for many years.  The subject of the Moon Names is a recent area of interest.  Any errors contained in this post are entirely my own, and I apologize for my inadequate intelligence.*

Sources: Farmer’s Almanac, Llewellyn 2010 Witches Datebook, Western Washington University Planetarium

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