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November: Beaver Moon

The Full Moon in November is named after beavers who build their winter dams at this time of year. It is also called Frost Moon and Mourning Moon, depending on the winter solstice.

A swimming beaver.

A North American beaver.

The beaver population in North America has declined from more than 60 million to around 12 million, mainly because of hunting for beaver fur.

©iStockphoto.com/SylvieBouchard

In ancient times, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year, which the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on.

For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named the months after features they associated with the Northern Hemisphere seasons, and many of these names are very similar or identical.

Full Moon Names

Today, we use many of these ancient month names as Full Moon names. A common explanation is that Colonial Americans adopted many of the Native American names and incorporated them into the modern calendar.

However, it seems that it is a combination of Native American, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic month names which gave birth to the names commonly used for the Full Moon today.

Some years have 13 Full Moons, which makes one of them a Blue Moon, as it doesn't quite fit in with the traditional Full Moon naming system. However, this is not the only definition of a Blue Moon.

Busy Beavers in the Moonlight

According to some sources, the Full Moon for November is named after beavers because this is the time they become particularly active building their winter dams in preparation for the cold season. The beaver is mainly nocturnal, so they keep working under the light of the Full Moon.

Beavers make dams of wood and mud. In the middle, they build dome-shaped homes called lodges with underwater entrances. Beavers continue to grow throughout their lives, and so do their teeth. They constantly gnaw on wood, but because the enamel in a beaver's incisors contains iron, their front teeth never wear down.

There used to be more than 60 million North American beavers. However, because people have hunted them for fur and their glands for medicine, among other reasons, the beaver population has declined to around 12 million.

Frost or Mourning Moon

Other names for the November Full Moon are Frost Moon, Trading Moon, and Snow Moon, although the latter is more common for the February Full Moon, while Oak Moon can be either the Full Moon in November or December, depending on which source you use.

Traditionally, the last Full Moon before the winter solstice has also been named Mourning Moon. The astronomical seasons do not match up with the lunar months. Therefore, the month of the Mourning Moon varies. Some years, the Mourning Moon is in November, while other years, it is in December.

Topics: Moon, Calendar, History, Seasons, November, Months

Beaver Moon 2018

Nov 23, 2018 at 12:39 am

Beaver Moon 2019

Nov 12, 2019 at 8:34 am

Times for Beaver Moon can vary by time zone. Dates are based on the local time in Boston. Change location

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Full Moon Names

  1. Traditional Full Moon Names
  2. Wolf Moon – January
  3. Snow Moon – February
  4. Worm Moon – March
  5. Pink Moon – April
  6. Flower Moon – May
  7. Strawberry Moon – June
  8. Buck Moon – July
  9. Sturgeon Moon – August
  10. Harvest Moon – September or October
  11. Full Corn Moon (Harvest) – September
  12. Hunter's Moon (Harvest) – October
  13. Beaver Moon – November
  14. Cold Moon – December

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