August: Fruit 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.

August is the month when fruit and tree fruits ripen, such as peaches, plums, and apples.  Some grain harvests are still in the fields and are gathered in this month as well.  August also marks a seasonal shift–temperatures begin to cool down some, there is a noticeable change in the earliness of nightfall, and the plants begin to focus less on growth and more on condensation and storing energy.  This is also when animals begin preparing for autumn and winter leanness by hoarding food or goring to build up fat.  The August 2010 full moon is August 24.

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 which animals were prominent, or when their staple crops would grow, or when they could gather ripened food.

Abenaki- Cutter Moon

Algonquin– When Indian Corn is Edible

Anishnaabe- Berry Moon

Arapaho- When the Chokeberries Begin to Ripen

Cherokee– Fruit Moon; Drying Up Moon

Choctaw– Women’s Moon; Big Harvest

Comanche– Summer Moon

Cree– Moon Young Ducks Begin to Fly

Creek- Big Ripening Moon

Dakota Sioux– Moon When All Things Ripen

Haida– Cedar Bark for Hat and Baskets

Hopi– Moon of Joyful

Kalapuya– Mid Summer

Lakota– Moon of the Ripening

Mohawk– Time of Freshness

Ponca– Corn is in the Silk Moon

Potawatomi– Moon of the Middle

Shawnee- Plum Moon

Shoshone– Hot

Sioux- Cherries Turn Black

Tlingit- Berries Ripe on Mountain

Wishram- Blackberry Patches Moon

Farmer’s Almanac says this month’s moon is also known as Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon, or Red 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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