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Farmers’ Almanac Readers Name October’s Full Moon “Pumpkin Moon”

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LEWISTON, Maine — It’s official, October’s full moon will now be named the “Pumpkin Moon.”

Thousands of Web visitors voted to select the new name last month as part of the Farmers’ Almanac Name That Moon Contest, announced in the 2010 edition of the publication.

The Farmers’ Almanac received 275 entries during the first half of September. Readers then selected their favorite out of the four top entries selected by Farmers’ Almanac editors.

The winning name was submitted by William Culver, of Princess Anne, Md. Culver was the first of 22 people to suggest some variation of the name “full pumpkin moon.” He will win a free 2011 Farmers’ Almanac, and his name and winning entry will be published in the almanac and on

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Every year, the Farmers’ Almanac publishes the traditional names for each month’s full moon. These names, such as “Wolf Moon,” “Corn Moon” and “Sturgeon Moon,” date back to Native Americans who lived in what is now the northeastern United States.The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Each moon name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred.

Though there was some variation among the moon names used by various tribes, in general, the same ones were used by the Algonquin tribes whose territory stretched from New England to Lake Superior. When the European settlers arrived, they adopted the custom, and also created some of their own names. Since a lunar month is only 29 days long, on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.

October’s traditional name is “Hunter’s Moon,” though this year’s October moon has the distinction of being the “Harvest Moon,” because it falls closest to the autumn equinox.

“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,” said Farmers’ Almanac editor Peter Geiger, Philom.

“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?”

Geiger decided to give readers the opportunity to create their own folklore by participating in an exciting contest to choose new names for each month’s full moon.

“Rather than unilaterally coming up with new names for the moon, I thought it would be more fun to ask our readers’ opinions on what they think would be good names for the moons. 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,” said Geiger.

Each month, the Farmers’ Almanac will solicit suggestions from readers to name the following month’s full moon. Editors will accept submissions through the 15th of each month, then post their four favorites on the Web site for readers to vote on through the end of the month. The winner will be announced on the first of the following month.

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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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