Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I had meant to blog on this matter two days ago when, at 4:13 am CDT the full moon called the 'Harvest Moon' reached its peak fullness. Ah, but many things intervened; so here it is now.
The Harvest Moon is defined as the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox which we come next Monday, September 22 this year. The Harvest Moon may come either before or after the equinox, and about once every four years it occurs in October rather than September. This often leads to confusion with the following 'Hunters' Moon', and the two actually share a similarity.
The reason the Harvest Moon is so called is that, while the Moon usually rises about 50 minutes later each night at the time of the equinox this day to day duration is shortened. For instance this year, as per the Time and Date website, moonrise was at 7:30 pm on September 15th, the day of the Harvest Moon, while today, on the 17th, it is 8:05 pm here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In other words only a 15 minute difference from day to day (the difference is longer the further south you go). This means that there is a lesser period of absolute darkness between sunset and moonrise at this time of year and that harvest activities could be resumed by moonlight well into the night after the Sun had set.
The Harvest Moon also has a few other tradition names, including the 'Wine Moon' , the 'Singing Moon' and the 'Elk Call Moon'. In any case the Harvest Moon is reputed to confer the blessing of the Norse trickster god Loki for a plentiful harvest. So, no tricks now, have a happy Fall, and more on the upcoming autumnal equinox soon.

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