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May’s full Moon reaches its peak on May 5, 2023! Here’s everything you should know about this month’s full Moon, including how it came to be called the “Flower Moon.”
When to See the Full Moon in May 2023
May’s full Flower Moon reaches peak illumination at 1:36 P.M. (EDT) onFriday, May 5. It will be below the horizon at this time, so plan to venture outdoors on the nights of the 4th and the 5th to get the best view of the bright full Flower Moon! Find a location with unobstructed views of the horizon, if possible. See what time the moon will be visible in your area with our Moonrise and Moonset Calculator.
Why Is It Called the Flower Moon?
The full moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not solely to the full Moon.
The Flower Moon
May’s Flower Moon name should be no surprise; flowers spring forth across North America in abundance this month!
May’s Moon was also referred to as the “Month of Flowers” by Jonathan Carver in his 1798 publication, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America: 1766, 1767, 1768 (pp. 250-252), as a likely Dakota name. Carver stayed with the Naudowessie (Dakota) over a period of time; his expedition covered the Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin and Minnesota areas.
Henry David Thoreau sparked the Native American Moon names as well, referencing the Flower Moon and Carver when he wrote about Native Americans.
Alternative May Moon Names
May’s Moon names tend to speak to the arrival of spring and all that it entails!
The Cree names Budding Moon and Leaf Budding Moon celebrate the awakening of local flora, which really begin to leaf out now in many areas. Similarly, Planting Moon (Dakota, Lakota) marks the time when seeds should be started for the farming season ahead.
The activities of animals marked spring’s arrival, too, which is highlighted by the Cree names Egg Laying Moon and Frog Moon, as well as the Oglala term Moon of the Shedding Ponies. All three names indicate that warmer weather is on the way!