February Super Snow Moon Was A Stunner

Super Snow Moon Over NYC       Photo: Gary Hershorn, Instagram

Overnight from Saturday into Sunday, the full moon for the month of February, called the Snow Moon, was particularly spectacular because it occurred about a day before reaching the closest point to Earth in its orbit — and thus it appeared slightly larger than average.  This special winter moon played a significant role in numerous cultures and religions globally and historically – a bit like a lunar version of Groundhog Day.  A TV station in Pittsburg put together a series of stunning photos — we had to share – not to mention one of our own.

Why This Matters:  Understanding these natural phenomena is fundamentally human – it transcends cultures and time. And who does not love a beautiful full moon in winter?

Significance of The Snow Moon

The NASA web site is a treasure trove on the Snow Moon and its significance.

  • For Native Americans in the north and eastern regions of the U.S., it was known as the Snow Moon or the Hunger Moon. It was known as the Snow Moon because of the heavy snows that fall in this season or as the Hunger Moon because bad weather and heavy snows made hunting difficult during this season.
  • This full moon is in the middle of the first month of the Chinese calendar.
  • It also occurs during Shevat in the Hebrew calendar. The 15th day of Shevat, corresponding with the Full Moon, is the holiday Tu BiShvat, which is also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot” (literally “New Year of the Trees”). In Israel, it is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.
  • In the Islamic calendar, the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon a few days after the New Moon. This full Moon is near the middle of Jumada al-awwal, the fifth month of the calendar.

Super Snow Moon over the ocean in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico    Photo: David Cohen for ODP

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