Full Moon January 2025 – Wolf Moon And Alternative Names

Why is January's Full Moon is named after a wolf?

Full Moon January 2024 Wolf Moon.

The full Moon in January happens when there are cold, long nights in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when the ground is frozen and winds whip the snow around. Trees and shrubs are deep into their dormancy and wildflower seeds await warmer weather to sprout. It’s time for the soil to rest before the next season of life-giving growth. Above ground, howls break the silent nights giving rise to a widely used name for January’s full Moon: the Wolf Moon.

Full Moon January 2025: Thursday, January 13
Peak Illumination: 5:27 p.m. Eastern Time

Why Is The January Full Moon The Wolf Moon?

Between the haunting howls and deep-rooted mythology, the wolf is undoubtedly an iconic creature deserving of its association with the full Moon. The name for the January full Moon is believed to have originated from Celtic and Old English roots, which European settlers then brought to the New World.

No matter where the settlers landed in North America, they surely encountered the familiar call of the wolf. At one point, gray wolves were among the most widespread land mammals on our planet. According to the Wolf Conservation Center, gray wolves “inhabited most of the available land in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Habitat destruction and persecution by humans have reduced their range by about a third worldwide and 90 percent in the lower 48 states.

The wolf’s adaptable nature to survive in a wide range of habitats and ability to prey on the largest mammals living in those regions made it widespread. Basically, if there are enough deer, moose, elk, caribou, bison, and musk ox, wolves can survive. Predation of domestic animals caused friction with European settlers and early Americans who aggressively hunted the wolves.

Werewolf myths can be found in ancient Greek and Roman societies, throughout European history and among some Native American tribes. In modern storytelling the transformation from man to wolf has been closely tied to the full Moon in films like “The Wolf Man” and “American Werewolf In London.”

Howl at the Moon means to waste energy pursuing something unattainable. It’s shorthand for doing something crazy. However, howling is hardly a waste of energy among wolf packs. And they aren’t howling at the Moon. The Moon just happens to be shining during times when wolves most often howl.

A wolf’s howl can be heard miles away. The vocalization helps wolves locate separated members and even communicate between packs marking their territories. One study recorded spontaneous howls and responses happen most often between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The cry of wolves doesn’t play into the Sioux name for the January full Moon, which is known as “The Time When Wolves Run Together.” Wolves do plenty of running to defend territory that can stretch hundreds of square miles to find enough prey to support the pack.

Alternative Names For January’s Full Moon

In other regions of the United States, different native peoples have various names for the January Moon. The Potawatomi in The Great Lakes refer to it as the “Bear Moon,” while the Haida in Alaska call it the “Bear Hunting Moon.” In The Pacific Northwest, the Tlingit know it as the “Goose Moon.”

Most other names for the Moon in January indicate the cold nature of the month. For example, the Celtic name is “Stay Home Moon,” the Algonquin name is “Sun Has Not Strength To Thaw Moon,” the Arapaho name is “When Snow Blows Like Spirits In The Wind Moon,” the Cherokee name is “Cold Moon,” the Cheyenne name is “Moon Of The Strong Cold,” and the Omaha name is “Moon When Snow Drifts Into Tipis.”

Join The Discussion

What is your favorite name for January’s full Moon?

If you could rename the Wolf Moon, what would you call it?

Full Moon Names And Times

Moon Phases Calendar

Subscribe To The Farmhouse – Our Members-only Community!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Daniel Higgins is an expert writer.
Daniel Higgins

Daniel Higgins is a lifestyle writer with two decades of experience who covers a wide variety of interests, from folklore to food and drink. Higgins writes for The New York Times, USA Today, and Yahoo News.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

28 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nicky Hall

I love the Wolf Moon and Stay at Home Moon

M. Caskey

Isn’t it the Wolf Conservation Center and not, as you have it, the Wolf Conversation Center? I admit, I did not click on the link but I have been to the Wolf Conservation Center!

Heather

Thank you! We made the edit!

Nancy Marrison

I like the Cherokee name, Cold Moon” because it is COLD during January and I’m part Cherokee myself.

Heather

We love that name as well, but it is more widely used for December’s Full Moon.

Jean

I like the Wolf Moon much easier to say than the rest. Also more fitting for a representation of nature.

Pamela Adams

Interesting. I am a January 2nd, baby

D3

A wealth of information for everyone.
Horoscopes are priceless and the moon phases
are interesting..
Today’s a full moon complete with gusty winds
and rain. Batten down the hatches!
Red skies at morning,sailors take warning.

Susan Higgins

It’s super fun, isn’t it, D3? Spread the word!

Pam

Love any, and all information on the moon and its phases. I am a July baby, also known as a moon child.

Dora Shilvock

Me too am July baby 07/11

PHIL MANLEY

God has left us a wealth of information, love the way farmers use it, amazing.

rnj

I have been a fan of FA for manyyears both in print and now on line. I always check the FA for gradening info as well as weather for my area and of course I find wonderful recipes also. Thank you for all the wonderful information.

Ellen Campbell

I always look forward to the full moon information you provide each month, as well as the many other bits of information.

I live by the Alamanic

The Alam

Sarah Walker

I have just become a member and the Emails I have gotten is so full of info. I love reading and learning about the things I knew nothing about so interesting and helpful .Thanks !

Teri Campisi

I love the Farmer’s Almanac! Always have one in my home! Thank you for the information you give throughout the year! I especially like the info on the moon. Hope you all have a very Happy and prosperous New Year!

Guin Chapman

I love the info. you provide about planting time, because the Bible says there is a time to plant and etc. I like the Info. about the moon in regard to the fishing, about names of the full moons, I love everything about it.

Patti Lawson

I love the information on the “moons.” I use the almanac to keep up on the weather as well. There’s something magical about this publication. I thank you for it.

Curtis Duncan

Thanks for the information..I use it on my morning drive programs on KLOE AM…and KKCI FM weekdays. Do you have some promo copies of the Almanac I could use on the air?
Happy New Year to the Almanac Staff,.

david dillow

Always enjoy the American folklore you provide! Since I’ve started planting in the moon instead of the ground like my grandfather tried to tell me, my garden yields have been much better. Follow your planting guide religiously. Happy new year.

Patches

I really enjoy reading information about moon phases. Happy New Year everyone.

bob

I have been following the Farmers Almanac for several years just to take note of the weather forecasts of the Almanac. I’m amazed at how spot on the Almanac has been over the years with their forecasting.

Jean Dulaney

Thanks, Susan Lockstedt, I never thought to explore Farmers Almanac regarding “weeding”… the curse of ‘home ownership’! HA

susan lockstedt

I refer to the almanac on a regular basic. Gardening, weather, the moon and even weeding my property. It has become a way of life.

DonnaDunham

Love the full moon this one will also be the furthest from earth
Love info about the magical properties of the moon’s.

Margaret Gee

love all the information

Lorrie Beck Mundell

Love reading The Farmers Almanac..so interesting. I plant my garden with the moon phases..

Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life.

Get money-saving tips, weather updates and more! Sign up today.