Did you see the full “Snow Moon” rise? The third and final full Moon of winter—and one of the highest of 2021—had moongazers and photographers across the world out in force, but this was a particularly special full Moon in Asia. 

Officially full at 08:17 Universal Time on Saturday, February 27, 2021 while in the constellation of Leo, the peaking of our satellite’s brightness sparked the Lantern Festival in Asia to cap Lunar New Year (also called “Spring Festival”) celebrations that began 15 days before. 

The first day of the new Lunar New Year (the Year of the Ox) was on Friday, 12 February, 2021, but the Lantern Festival—also called the “Yuanxiao” and “Shangyuan”—is a time for candles and the for the eating rice dumplings. 

However, the full Moon is a global event—and its monthly rise in the eastern sky during dusk is a phenomenon observed throughout human history.

A full Moon is when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon. During this time of the Moon’s orbit of Earth, the Moon appears completely illuminated as seen from Earth. A full moon happens once every orbit of Earth—a “moon-th” (month). 

February’s full Moon is known as the full “Snow Moon” in North America, while in Europe it’s called the “Storm Moon.” 

The names popularly used for full Moons hark back mostly to those used—or said to have been used (there’s no written record)—by Native American tribes. Hence the name “Snow Moon” in February, though there were many Native American tribes.

According to Moongiant, although “Snow Moon” was a popular name for February’s full Moon across North America, the Cherokee tribe called its the “Bone Moon” and the Kalapuya tribe termed it the “Out of Food Moon,” since winter supplies has dwindled to bones. 

However, to the Hopi tribe it was the “Moon of Purification and Renewal” since it was the first full Moon of the lunar calendar year. In Europe it was called the “Moon of Ice” by the Celts. 

The next full Moon will be the first of spring 2021—the “Worm Moon”—which will rise on Sunday, March 28, 2021. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes. 

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