Chasing mice under December’s Full Moon Moonshine
December 7, 2022. December’s Full “Cold” Moon
Winter is the season of snowflakes, blizzards, and soggy paws. Not usually a fan of the cold, Flambé couldn’t resist a moonlight romp under this month’s Full Moon, fittingly named “Cold Moon.” Burrrrr! Before leaving her warm vacation cottage, she donned a wool scarf and matching cap to ward off a bit of the brisk night, ‘cause Kat was planning a hunt! She knew that hungry mice would be scampering about under bright moon glow, and Flambé was excited about a fun chase over puffy drifts of newly fallen snow.
Naming the Full Moon
December’s full Moon is most commonly known as the Cold Moon – a Mohawk name that expresses the often frigid conditions of this time of year. This full Moon has also been called Long Night Moon (Mohican) because it rises during the longest nights of the year as we near winter solstice. This name is doubly fitting because December’s full Moon shines above the horizon for a longer period of time than most full moons. Now that’s just “cool” …. pun intended!
Satisfying my obsession to learn more, I discovered some other names given December’s Northern Hemisphere full Moon by Native Americans (varying by tribe and especially location) that are pretty interesting and curious at the same time. Many names allude to snow and cold. All names are Native American in origin:
Drift Clearing Moon, Frost Exploding Trees Moon and Hoar Frost Moon (Cree), Moon of the Popping Trees (Oglala), Snow Moon (Haida, Cherokee), Winter Maker Moon (Western Abenaki), Moon When the Deer Shed Their Antlers (Dakota), Little Spirit Moon (Anishinaabe), When Wolves Run Together Moon (Cheyenne), and Moon of Respect (Hopi).
What about those popping and exploding trees? What I learned is during very cold weather, the water in tree sap expands as it freezes. This action splits the bark creating a popping or gunshot-like sound. Tribes who occupied lands where winters are very cold, must’ve experienced this phenomenon, hence the origin of those popping and exploding full Moon names. But the Chactaw, who occupied what is now Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, know the December full Moon as the Peach Moon. Makes sense!
And lastly, European colonists back in the day referred to December’s full Moon as Moon Before Yule, Snow Moon and Oak Moon.
No mice were hurt in the writing of this adventure post!
Oh, Flambé enjoyed her mice hunt, but not in the way you think! There were so many mice scampering about, pursuit became exhausting. Instead she decided to make friends with all of these furry rodents, then retired to her warm bed beside the crackling fire inside her cozy vacation cottage.
Did you enjoy viewing December’s full Moon? I’d love to know!
As always, Flambé invites you to follow her Zentangle-inspired antics (ZIAs) by visiting her page called Tangled Up, to see what trouble she always seems to find, past and present.