NAMING THE MOONS

Calendars are distinctly human creations, but it’s likely that they first sprang from our need to keep track of the changing landscape in the natural world. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

We’re listening to music of the Chippewa Indians. According to Chippewa tradition, this month’s full moon is called the Freezing Moon. It’s also called the White Frost on the Ground Moon by the Narragansett and other tribes. And the Moon When the Deer Shed their Antlers by the Omaha Indians.

“Many native people in different regions all across North America, much as our European ancestors, knew the moon phases by the key crops or hunting signals that were important at the time.”

Barrie Kavash is a research associate at the Institute for American Indian Studies and the author of Enduring Harvests.

“JUST AS IN MARCH the Shad Moon signaled the time when the shad would make their way in from the sea and up the rivers and following that the Salmon Moon and the Trout Moon would then be followed by the Frog Moon. These were the translated names of the full moons and new moons as native people all over the world lived much more by a lunar/solar calendar much more so than we do today. And so it makes natural sense that native people called each moon of the year by the key survival ingredient that was paramount at that time for that moon phase.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.

NAMING THE MOONS

Perhaps all of our calendars sprung from a basic human desire to keep track of the changing natural landscape.
Air Date:11/24/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

Calendars are distinctly human creations, but it's likely that they first sprang from our need to keep track of the changing landscape in the natural world. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

We're listening to music of the Chippewa Indians. According to Chippewa tradition, this month's full moon is called the Freezing Moon. It's also called the White Frost on the Ground Moon by the Narragansett and other tribes. And the Moon When the Deer Shed their Antlers by the Omaha Indians.

"Many native people in different regions all across North America, much as our European ancestors, knew the moon phases by the key crops or hunting signals that were important at the time."

Barrie Kavash is a research associate at the Institute for American Indian Studies and the author of Enduring Harvests.

"JUST AS IN MARCH the Shad Moon signaled the time when the shad would make their way in from the sea and up the rivers and following that the Salmon Moon and the Trout Moon would then be followed by the Frog Moon. These were the translated names of the full moons and new moons as native people all over the world lived much more by a lunar/solar calendar much more so than we do today. And so it makes natural sense that native people called each moon of the year by the key survival ingredient that was paramount at that time for that moon phase."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.