Why Is The September 2018 Full Moon Called The Harvest Moon? The Timing Of This Moon Is Particularly Important

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This month's full moon holds an extra special historical meaning, and while that meaning might no longer be relevant to our modern lives, it's still worth reflecting on and celebrating. If you've ever wondered why the September 2018 full moon is called the Harvest Moon, it's essentially what it sounds like; the moon that comes in time for harvesting.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the Harvest Moon related to the annual gathering of crops. During this time, the crops that spent the summer growing and becoming ripe would officially be ready to pick. The Harvest Moon marked an annual excursion in which farmers would bring in the food and resources they needed to make it through the colder and darker months. Timing was crucial because if they weren't quick, the animals could beat them to the crops, and if the crops weren't picked at their peak ripeness, they might become rotten and inedible or unusable. So, due to its utility, the Harvest Moon was always strictly tied to the autumn equinox.

The autumn equinox occurs each year when the sun crosses the equator in the end of September. This event usually occurs on or around September 21, though this year it will occur on September 22. While the Harvest Moon typically falls in the month of September, every three years or so, it will come in October. The Harvest Moon was essentially regarded as a visual alarm clock that let farmers know it was time to rush to their crops. Culturally, the Harvest Moon was also a time that people spent nesting and preparing themselves and their homes for the new season.


Throughout history, the Harvest Moon's presence in the sky would signify the change of seasons. While we don't need the moon as a reminder to collect our crops, this moon has worked its way into the cultural fibers of our modern existence. We're not farming by its light, but we can still appreciate how the moon's presence in the sky has changed in significance over the course of our time here.


We look to the Harvest Moon as a time that's symbolic of change. From Neil Young's album to Carl Sandburg's poem, to George Maison's painting, the Harvest Moon is widely representative of transformation, comfort and gratefulness.


Though we don't rely on the moon for a direct utility in our every day lives, every full moon is a great opportunity to reflect, work on your relationship with yourself and be thankful for what you have in your life. Because the Harvest Moon comes at a time in which we're literally and spiritually taking stock of our bounty, it's a perfect excuse to go outside, meditate, and send mental thank you cards to the people, place and things that you're grateful to have harvested. On September 24, at 10:52 p.m. ET, watch the Harvest Moon reach its peak in the sky, collect your thoughts and sow some seeds for the next month to come. And definitely, definitely listen to Neil Young's Harvest Moon album, because it's just golden.