The moon by many names: Exploring moon names from different cultures

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The Moon has been a source of wonder and inspiration for people all over the world for centuries. It has been named and renamed by different cultures countless times, each name reflecting the unique way that people have viewed the Moon over time.

Moon names from different cultures

Native American moon names

Native American cultures have some of the most beautiful and poetic moon names. The Cherokee people, for example, call the Moon “Tsistu” or “The Woman Who Changes.” The Navajo people call the Moon “Yé’iit Nehézjáá'” or “The Night Chantler.” And the Lakota people call the Moon “Wíta” or “The Woman Who Gives Life.”

Native American moon names are often related to the seasons, weather, or agricultural cycles. For example, the Mohawk people have a moon called “Kahionhawi” or “The Strawberry Moon,” which occurs in June when strawberries are ripe.

Chinese moon names

The Chinese have a long and rich history of moon observation and naming. The most common Chinese moon name is “Yuèliang” (月亮), which simply means “Moon.” However, there are many other Chinese moon names that are more specific and descriptive.

For example, the Chinese have a moon called “Yánghuǒ” (阳火), which means “Sun Fire.” This moon occurs in the summer when the Moon is at its brightest and hottest. The Chinese also have a moon called “Yuèjiā” (月牙), which means “Moon Crescent.” This moon occurs when the Moon is in its crescent phase.

Japanese moon names

The Japanese have a similar system of moon naming to the Chinese. The most common Japanese moon name is “Tsuki” (月), which means “Moon.” However, there are many other Japanese moon names that are more specific and descriptive.

For example, the Japanese have a moon called “Jūgoya” (十五夜), which means “Fifteenth Night.” This moon occurs on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, which is the date of the Japanese Moon Festival. The Japanese also have a moon called “Kannazuki” (神無月), which means “Month Without Gods.” This moon occurs in October, when it is believed that the Japanese gods are away at a meeting.

Indian moon names

Indian cultures have a rich and diverse tradition of moon naming. The most common Indian moon name is “Chandra” (चन्द्र), which means “Moon.” However, there are many other Indian moon names that are more specific and descriptive.

For example, the Hindus have a moon called “Poornima” (पूर्णिमा), which means “Full Moon.” They also have a moon called “Amavasya” (अमावस्या), which means “New Moon.” The Jains have a moon called “Posha” (पोष), which occurs in the winter months. And the Sikhs have a moon called “Vaisakh” (वैशाख), which occurs in the spring months.

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European moon names

European cultures also have a long history of moon naming. The most common European moon name is “Luna” or “Lua,” which comes from the Latin word for “Moon.” However, there are many other European moon names that are more specific and descriptive.

For example, the English have a moon called “Harvest Moon,” which occurs in September when the full moon rises closest to the autumn equinox. The Germans have a moon called “Eisernmond” or “Iron Moon,” which occurs in January when the Moon is at its coldest. And the French have a moon called “Lune de Miel” or “Honey Moon,” which is the full moon that occurs in the month following a couple’s wedding.

Other moon names from around the world

In addition to the moon names mentioned above, there are many other interesting and unique moon names from cultures around the world. For example, the Maori people of New Zealand call the Moon “Marama.” The Aboriginal people of Australia call the Moon “Ngalalbal.” And the Inuit people of the Arctic call the Moon “Tukilik.”

Meanings of moon names

Many moon names are related to the seasons, weather, or agricultural cycles. For example, the Cherokee people call the Moon “Tsistu” or “The Woman Who Changes” because the Moon changes its appearance throughout the lunar cycle. And the Mohawk people call the Moon “Kahionhawi” or “The Strawberry Moon” because this moon occurs in June when strawberries are ripe.

Other moon names are related to animals, plants, or deities. For example, the Navajo people call the Moon “Yé’iit Nehézjáá'” or “The Night Chantler” because they believe that the Moon is a powerful deity that controls the night. And the Lakota people call the Moon “Wíta” or “The Woman Who Gives Life” because they believe that

the Moon is a symbol of fertility and abundance.

Some moon names are simply descriptive of the Moon’s appearance. For example, the Japanese have a moon called “Yūgetsu” (夕月), which means “Evening Moon.” This moon is named because it is often seen in the evening sky. And the Germans have a moon called “Heumond” or “Hay Moon,” which occurs in July when the Moon is often seen shining through the hay fields.

How moon names are used in different cultures

Moon names are used in different cultures in a variety of ways. In some cultures, moon names are used in astrology and mythology. For example, in Chinese astrology, the Moon is associated with the Yin principle, which is the feminine principle of the universe. In Greek mythology, the Moon is associated with the goddess Artemis, who is the goddess of the hunt and the wild.

Moon names are also used in folklore and storytelling. For example, in Native American folklore, the Moon is often seen as a trickster figure. And in European folklore, the full moon is often associated with werewolves.

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How moon names have changed over time

Moon names have changed over time in response to changes in culture and language. For example, the English moon name “Harvest Moon” is a relatively recent name. This name was first used in the 16th century, and it reflects the fact that this moon occurs in the fall when the harvest is being gathered.

Another example of a moon name that has changed over time is the Chinese moon name “Yuèliàng” (月亮). This name was first used in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and it is a combination of two words: “yuè” (月), which means “Moon,” and “liàng” (亮), which means “bright.” However, the word “liàng” was originally pronounced “liàng” (两), which means “two.” This means that the original Chinese moon name was “Yuèliàng” (月兩), which means “Two Moons.” This name is thought to have been a reference to the fact that the Chinese often saw the Moon as being divided into two parts: the light side and the dark side.

Moon names from different cultures, organized by month

MonthNative AmericanChineseJapaneseIndianEuropeanOther
JanuaryCold MoonMoon of the Full ColdMutsumugenPaushEisernmondMoon Before Yule
FebruarySnow MoonMoon of the Hunger MoonKigatsuMaghaSchneemondMoon of the Great Frost
MarchWorm MoonMoon of the WindYayoiPhalgunaLenzmondMoon Before Ostara
AprilPink MoonMoon of the BrighteningUzukiChaitraOstermondMoon of the Growing Things
MayFlower MoonMoon of the RipeningSatsukiVaisakhaWonnemondMoon Before Beltane
JuneStrawberry MoonMoon of the Little HarvestMinazukiJyaisthaRosenmondMoon Before Litha
JulyBuck MoonMoon of the Great HarvestFumiyukiAshadhaHeumondMoon Before Lughnasadh
AugustSturgeon MoonMoon of the Falling LeavesHazukiShravanaErntemondMoon Before Mabon
SeptemberHarvest MoonMoon of the TravelerNagatsukiBhadrapadaHerbstmondMoon Before Samhain
OctoberHunter’s MoonMoon of the Falling SnowKannazukiAshvinaBlutmondMoon of the Hunter’s
NovemberBeaver MoonMoon of the ColdShimotsukiKartikaNebelmondMoon of the Frost
DecemberCold MoonMoon of the Long NightsKigatsuAgrahayanaReifmondMoon of the Darkest Night

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The most common moon names in the world

The most common moon names in the world are:

  • Full Moon
  • New Moon
  • Crescent Moon
  • Gibbous Moon
  • Harvest Moon
  • Hunter’s Moon
  • Blood Moon
  • Blue Moon
  • Black Moon
  • Supermoon
  • Micromoon

These names are used in many different cultures around the world, regardless of the language or ethnicity.

The most unique and unusual moon names

Here are some of the most unique and unusual moon names from around the world:

  • Ngalalbal (Aboriginal Australian): Moon
  • Marama (Maori): Moon
  • Tukilik (Inuit): Moon
  • Yé’iit Nehézjáá’ (Navajo): The Night Chantler
  • Wíta (Lakota): The Woman Who Gives Life
  • Poornima (Hindu): Full Moon
  • Amavasya (Hindu): New Moon
  • Posha (Jain): Winter Moon
  • Vaisakh (Sikh): Spring Moon
  • Yūgetsu (Japanese): Evening Moon
  • Heumond (German): Hay Moon
  • Lune de Miel (French): Honey Moon

The role of moon names in different cultures

Moon names play an important role in many different cultures. For example, in astrology, the Moon is associated with the Yin principle, which is the feminine principle of the universe. In Greek mythology, the Moon is associated with the goddess Artemis, who is the goddess of the hunt and the wild.

Moon names are also used in folklore and storytelling. For example, in Native American folklore, the Moon is often seen as a trickster figure. And in European folklore, the full moon is often associated with werewolves.

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How moon names have changed over time

Moon names have changed over time in response to changes in culture and language. For example, the English moon name “Harvest Moon” is a relatively recent name. This name was first used in the 16th century, and it reflects the fact that this moon occurs in the fall when the harvest is being gathered.

Conclusion

Moon names are a fascinating and diverse part of human culture. They reflect the many different ways that people have viewed the Moon over time. From the poetic names of Native American cultures to the descriptive names of European cultures, moon names tell us a story about our relationship with the Moon.

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