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wolf moon & names!

Full Moon, January 25, 2024

Watch for January's Full Wolf Moon!

Catherine Boeckmann

January 24, 2024


The first full Moon of 2024 occurs on the night of Thursday, January 25. Why do we call January’s Moon a “Wolf Moon”? (It’s not because wolves are hungry.) Find out what’s special about this month’s Moon—as well as folklore and best days by the Moon.

When to See January’s Full Moon

January’s full Wolf Moon reaches peak illumination on Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 12:54 P.M. EST. At a full Moon, the Moon is located on the opposite side of the Earth to the Sun, so the face of the Moon facing towards the Earth will be entirely illuminated by the Sun’s rays. Look for the January Moon to rise from the eastern horizon around sunset that evening. By midnight, the Wolf Moon glows bright and round overhead.  By sunrise, it will disappear into the western horizon.

Consult our Moonrise Calculator to see what time you can expect to catch a glimpse of the first full Moon of 2024!

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Look up at the full Moon on the 25th (or a day earlier or later)! What do you think?The sunset embers smolder low,The Moon climbs o’er the hill, The peaks have caught the alpenglow,The robin’s song is still.–John L. Stoddard (1850–1931)

Why Is It Called the Full Wolf Moon?

The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not just to the full Moon itself.

The Wolf Moon

It’s thought that January’s full Moon came to be known as the Wolf Moon because wolves were more likely to be heard howling at this time. It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that isn’t accurate. Howling and other wolf vocalizations are heard in the wintertime to locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, define territory, and coordinate hunting.


Alternative January Moon Names

Another fitting name for this full Moon is the Center Moon. Used by the Assiniboine people of the Northern Great Plains, it refers to the idea that this Moon roughly marks the middle of the cold season.

Other traditional names for the January Moon emphasize the harsh coldness of the season: Cold Moon (Cree), Frost Exploding Moon (Cree), Freeze Up Moon (Algonquin), and Severe Moon (Dakota). Hard Moon (Dakota) highlights the phenomenon of the fallen snow developing a hard crust.

Canada Goose Moon (Tlingit), Great Moon (Cree), Greetings Moon (Western Abenaki), and Spirit Moon (Ojibwe) have also been recorded as Moon names for this month.

→ See all 12 months of Full Moon names and their meanings.


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