July: Buck Moon
The Full Moon in July is the Buck Moon, named after the new antlers that emerge from a buck's forehead around this time of the year. It is also called Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, and Wort Moon.
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.
New Antlers Every Year
The Full Moon for the month of July is called Buck Moon, as new antlers emerge from bucks' foreheads around this time of the year.
Male deer, or bucks, shed their antlers and grow new ones every year. Deer belong to the Cervidae family along with elk, moose, reindeer, and other species. There are several different species of deer in the US and Europe, where this traditional Full Moon name originated. For example the caribou and the moose (North America) or elk (Eurasia).
The smallest living deer is the South American Southern pudu. It weighs only around 9 kg (20 lbs) and only grows to around 36 cm (14 in). The largest living deer is the moose or elk which can grow up to 2 m (6.5 ft) from hoof to shoulder and weigh around 820 kg (1800 lbs).
Thunderstorms and Hay Harvest
Another name for the July Full Moon is Thunder Moon because of the frequent thunderstorms in the summer. The Anglo-Saxon name is either Hay Moon, after the hay harvest that takes place in July, or Wort Moon, indicating that July is the time to gather herbs (worts) to dry and use as spices and remedies.