December’s Long Night-Full Cold Moon

by Sid Baglini

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023 7:15 PM

We will wrap up our fourth year of monthly Moon walks with a stroll under the Full Cold Moon. Since it will appear full on the 25th, 26th and 27th, we will opt for the 27th even though the actual date is the 26th. We will still be treated to 100% illumination and the delay should allow folks adequate time to wind down a bit from the holiday frenzy and keep Boxing Day (the 26th) free for any continuing family commitments.

The Full Cold Moon follows the winter solstice by less than a week so although the nights are long and cold, the days are becoming incrementally longer. The day after the solstice, we get just seconds more sunlight than the day before but by late February into March, it will be approximately 3 minutes more per day. The December Full Moon hangs in the sky longer than any other just as the Sun in June rises earlier and sets later.

Indigenous peoples’ names for this Full Moon are exclusively focused on the hardships of winter. We can choose from The Snow Moon, The Winter Maker Moon, The Hoar Frost Moon, and The Long Night Moon recognising its proximity to the winter solstice. Even more bone chilling are the names related to the circumstance when extreme cold causes the water in the trunks and branches of trees to freeze which results in a sudden explosion of sound when the wood splits. The Cree called it the Frost Exploding Trees Moon and the Oglala went with the Moon of Popping Trees. The sounds emanating from the frozen forest must have made for fitful nights of sleep. The only name referencing animals belonged to the Dakota who observed the Moon When Deer Shed Their Antlers.

The Quadrantids Meteor Shower starts on the 26th of December, just two days after the end of the Geminids Shower, but it doesn’t peak until the 3rd and 4th of January. While our chances of spotting a meteor are slim, we will have the company of Jupiter and Saturn during our stroll.

We hope you and any friends and family visiting for the holidays will join us for this final 2023 Moon Walk. We’ll take in the festive lights around Malvern, listen to a little Moon related music, and wonder at the beauty of the night sky. We meet behind Borough Hall and parking is available on First or Channing Avenues.

Leave a Reply