The full Moon June 2024 is one of the sweetest of the year—the Strawberry Moon. But why does the full Moon in June have such a berry-licious name, and what other names are associated with the astronomical event every June in other cultures?
June 2024 Full Moon: Friday, June 21
Peak Illumination: 9:08 p.m. Eastern Time
A Brief Month of Berries
The June full Moon got the name “Strawberry Moon” from a number of North American native tribes, since the wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) reaches peak ripeness and is ready for harvesting in June. The berry is widespread throughout the lower 48 states, Canada, and Alaska, and is a popular and important spring edible as one of the earliest ripening berries.
Because of the importance of the wild strawberry as a spring food staple, the name “Strawberry Moon” was given to the June full Moon by the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, Lakota, Chippewa, Oneida, and Sioux tribes.
Several tribes use other berry-related names for the June full Moon, depending on which berries are most prominent in their homelands. The Creek of the southeastern United States, for example, call this the “Blackberry Moon,” while the Shawnee of Ohio and Pennsylvania refer to the June full Moon as the “Raspberry Moon.” In Alaska, the Haida tribe uses a more all-encompassing berry name, “Berries Ripen Moon.”
Gardening and Growth-Related June Full Moon Names
Berries aren’t the only plants growing in June, and different cultures often have a different name for the June full moon based on their gardening practices and regional plant growth.
In addition to calling this Moon the Strawberry Moon, the Ojibwe also use the term “Flowering Moon” or “Garden Moon,” referring to different plants and growth in general in June. The Cherokee are more specific with “Plants in Garden Are Sprouting Moon.” For farmers and other sedentary tribes, the term “Green Corn Moon” is often used to denote garden growth of this specific staple crop. (Please note that Green Corn Moon is different than September’s occasional Corn Moon.) Even neo-pagan religions reference gardening with the June full Moon as the “Planting Moon.”
In more northern areas, June may be a bit too early for garden plants to sprout or berries to ripen, but trees are beginning to finally bloom after long winter months. The Cree of the northern plains and Canada refer to the June full Moon as “Moon When Leaves Come Out” to mark that step of nature’s yearly cycle.
Other Seasonal Names for the June Full Moon
In areas where strawberries may not be prevalent or gardening times vary, the June full Moon has names related to nature. The Choctaw of the southern Great Plains from Oklahoma to Mississippi, for example, call this Moon the “Windy Moon” after seasonal weather patterns and spring storms.
In Anglo-Saxon traditions, the June full Moon is the “Honey Moon” or the “Mead Moon” as an indication of time to mow the meads, or meadows, while throughout much of Europe, “Rose Moon” is the preferred name, indicating the full blossoming of these gorgeous flowers in regions where strawberries aren’t as widespread. In China, the June full Moon is the “Lotus Moon.”
The life cycle of common animals can also give names to different months’ full Moons, including the June Moon. The Inupiat and Tlingit peoples of Alaska call this Moon the “Moon of Birthing” as many northern animals give birth in June as the weather mellows, giving their offspring the longest possible time to grow and mature before winter returns.
Similarly, the Arapaho of the Great Plains call the June Moon “Moon When the Buffalo Bellows” referring to the mating calls of such sacred beasts. The Omaha tribe of Nebraska has a similar name for the June Moon – “Moon When the Buffalo Bulls Hunt the Cows.”
Even simple weather can be part of full Moon names. In some areas, the June Moon is called the “Hot Moon” to indicate the beginning of summer, especially if the full Moon occurs later in the month. (By the way, have you seen our Summer Forecast?) In the southern hemisphere and southern Africa, however, the same moon in the same month is called the “Cold Moon” as the winter solstice approaches in those parts of the world.
Depending on the date, the June full Moon may be the last full Moon of spring or the first full moon of summer. Whether it is early or late in the month, the Strawberry Moon is a beautiful part of the seasonal cycle and well worth its sweetly delicious name.
Join The Discussion
What is your favorite name for June’s full Moon?
What would you name it if you could?
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Melissa Mayntz is a writer who specializes in birds and birding, though her work spans a wide range—from folklore to healthy living. Her first book, Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds was published in 2020. Mayntz also writes for National Wildlife Magazine and The Spruce. Find her at MelissaMayntz.com.