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Help us name that moon contest

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Today is the official launch of the brand new 2010 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac, which means it’s a busy day here at Almanac headquarters!

Traditionally, the annual release of the Farmers’ Almanac generates a lot of media attention. Already, newspapers around the country have run stories about our predictions for the coming winter. Check your local paper, if you haven’t already, to see if the story reached your town.

One of the more exciting features in this year’s Farmer’s Almanac is the new “Name That Moon” Contest. If you’re a regular reader of the print or our web site, then you already know that each month’s full Moon has its own unique name, passed down to us from the Native Americans who lived in the Northeastern part of the United States. For years, the Almanac has printed those traditional full Moon names in our monthly astronomy calendar.

Then last year, while I was doing media interviews to promote the 2009 Farmers’ Almanac, someone asked me why we don’t update the full Moon names. The question had honestly never occurred to me before, and I thought, “Why not?” After all, most of the names we use are centuries old. Shouldn’t we have names that reflect the realities of life in the 21st Century?

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Rather than unilaterally coming up with new names for the Moon, though, I thought it would be more fun to ask our readers’ opinions on what you think would be good names for the Moons. So we decided to create a contest, and let you all vote on the best name for each month’s full Moon. Since the names we use in the Almanac are just one of many names for each Moon, the new names you choose won’t replace the old ones, but they will give us a name that better reflects modern-day priorities and preoccupations.

We’ll begin the contest this month, with October’s full Moon, traditionally called the Harvest Moon. Few people spend the month of October bringing in crops by the light of the Moon, but what activity does Moonlight play in our lives today?

The first 12 days of September will be spent receiving your suggestions. We’ll narrow it down to the four best suggestions, and then from September 15th through the end of the month, we will ask you to vote for your favorite.

What do you think October’s Moon should be called? Visit our official contest page for details on how to participate.

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1 comment

1 Roger Parker { 09.04.09 at 3:49 am }

The Native Americans of the North Eastern sates, now New England, called the September full moon the “Corn Moon”. Pretty much like the “Harvest Moon” here, because that was when their maize was ready for harvest

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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