Walking By the Light of Winter’s Worm Moon

by Sid Baglini

Tuesday, March 7, 2023
6:45 P.M

Dubbed The Worm Moon, the March Full Moon has perhaps the most uninspiring name of the thirteen we learn each year. While you may immediately think of the lowly earthworm who makes a dramatic re-appearance as the ground begins to thaw in the warmth of early spring, there is another likely origin to the name. The Farmer’s Almanac explains that Captain Jonathan Carver visited the Dakota Tribe in the 1760’s and reported that the worms they referenced in the name Worm Moon were the larvae of beetles that emerged from beneath the bark and leaf litter as winter turned to spring. While there may be a bit of mystery to the name there is no doubt that whatever the worm may be, it is a welcome and necessary addition to the avian diet as our birds migrate, nest and raise their broods.

As usual, there are many other names that originated with our indigenous populations for this Full Moon. Crow Comes Back Moon, Eagle Moon, and Goose Moon are related to the seasonal re-appearance of some of the larger birds. The longer, brighter days inspired the name The Sore Eyes Moon thanks to sunlight reflected off ice and snow. The typical “in like a lion, out like a lamb” March weather pattern probably led to the name Wind Strong Moon. No offense to worms, but my personal favorite is The Sugar Moon as the sap is flowing, and those who tap into that sweet liquid feeding the long dormant Maples will provide syrup for our morning flapjacks or johnny cakes. Since this is the last full Moon of winter, occurring before the spring equinox, it is known by Christians as The Lenten Moon. If it occurred after the equinox, which will be March 20 at 5:24 P.M., it would have been a Paschal Full Moon.

Venus will be the most visible planet in the western sky and we may see its current companion, Jupiter. Having just been in conjunction with Venus on March 1st, Jupiter is sinking steadily closer to the horizon each night and will disappear later in March.

We invite you to join us for our final winter Moon Walk. We’ll be looking for some early signs of spring as we celebrate another lunar light show. Remember to check the Malvern Arts website for a cancellation if weather conditions threaten to make walking dangerous. We will meet in the parking lot of the Baptist Church at the corner of First Avenue and Channing Avenue.

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