This Sunday’s full moon was not just any other full moon. The lunar phase that brightened up the nocturnal sky on Sunday August 22 is known as the Sturgeon Moon. The natural satellite of the Earth reached its peak phase on Sunday morning, as many dubbed it as Blue Moon, but what makes it so unique that it has its own name?
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the full Moon names come from a number of traditions and folklores , including those rooted in Native American, Colonial American, and European practices. The publication mentioned that traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred and not just to the full Moon.
This week’s full Moon was traditionally called the Sturgeon Moon because the giant sturgeon, a species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae, was caught from the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most easily caught during this part of the year.
The Sturgeons are known for their unique appearance and many even call them living fossils. The fish’s are most commonly found in North America’s region that covers Hudson Bay to the Mississippi River. According to the National Wildlife Federation this fish was once an abundant species in the ecosystems of the Great Lakes, but overharvesting has significantly reduced its numbers. Female Sturgeons start reproducing after 20 years and they can only reproduce every four years. However, the fish can live up to 150 years.
There are nearly 29 species of Sturgeon fish around the world, including the lake sturgeon found in the Great Lakes. Other alternative names for such lunar events used in North America are Flying Up Moon. This is a term used by indigenous American group Cree, which describes the time when young birds are finally ready to take the leap and learn to fly. Other terms used by the Anishinaabe peoples of North America for such lunar events are Corn Moon, Harvest Moon, and Ricing Moon.