A Rare Treat
A blue moon is more than a euphemism, meaning something is not so common of an event, it is a real astronomical event. Now, do not be disappointed, but blue moons are rarely blue and this month’s moon is expected not to be either. The term “blue moon” actually refers to the appearance of a second full moon within a month.
Blue moons are not very common, considering one only happens every two-and-a-half years; however, this year’s blue moon is extra special. For the first time since 1944, the United States will experience a blue moon on Halloween night, and it will be visible in all time zones.
Since this blue moon falls in October it is known as a Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon. This name originates from the historic tendency of people to set out on late hunting trips to stock up food before the colder days of winter begin. The fullness of the moon provided ample light in times prior to flashlights and the fields had been cut bare during the harvest moon. This made for open expanses of open land in which animals could be easily seen, hence, perfect conditions for hunting too.
The term “blood moon” is far more fitting than blue moon for the second full moon in October. It may sound gruesome, but the name blood moon actually refers to the color of the full moon in late fall. Full moons around this time of year rise soon after sunset and hang low in the sky for a while. If you catch a glimpse of them at this time, they will appear large and seem to have a haunting red glow. This is not always the case, but it would be a perfect addition to the spooky atmosphere this Halloween.
For an added ominous effect, it is important to note that the lunar calendar had originally predicted more blue moons on Halloween at the time of its creation; however, a shift of the lunar cycle with the addition of leap days caused the expected October 31st blue moons to move to November 1st. The year 2020 truly is full of surprises as the moon has moved back to the original lunar calendar after 86 years!
Is it a coincidence that a rare Halloween blue moon will be experienced this year, or is something extra spooky brewing?
Most horror movies feature a full moon as part of their night-time backdrop for the ghostly aura it casts over the earth. Many people have experienced the hauntingly beautiful glow of a full moon, and if you have not, well, you will soon get your chance. Something about the way a full moon illuminates the night has caused folklore and myths to circle its presence. The more rare the moon phase is, the more powerful it is thought to be. Mix in a creepy holiday that is all about fright and you have the ideal formula for a spooky night.
Have you ever noticed that the words “lunar” and “lunatic” sound a little similar? They both originated from ancient tales about the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna. The association of the word lunatic stemmed from a belief that full moons incite bizarre behavior. For years, it was believed that anything from sleepwalking to transforming into a werewolf could be the result of the full moon’s powers.
As of recent, research has not been able to prove that there is any correlation between full moons and crazed behavior though. There have been no notable spikes in hospitalizations, criminal activity, or people turning into violent half-wolf creatures during full moons… so far, but some emergency room nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and jail officers may disagree.
It is thought that this legend originated before artificial light sources were in homes. At such a time in history, the light of the full moon could keep people awake and allow enough light for individuals to gather together and cause a ruckus late at night.
The blue moon this Halloween is unlikely to turn people mad, but is there something magical about it? Depending on your definition of magic, the answer could be yes!
Individuals who practice spellcasting or witchcraft believe the full moon is the most magically potent time of the month. The powerful presence of a full moon is thought to be reflected in spell-based endeavors that happen beneath its glow.
If full moons are conductive to magic, then it is fair to assume that this month’s blue moon can intensify the otherworldly events that Halloween is built on.
Before trick-or-treating, costume parties, and mischief in the night, Halloween was defined by ancient Celtic lore. It was believed that Halloween night was the one time every year when the borders between the living and the dead became blurred, allowing for ghostly apparitions and mythical creatures of all kinds to travel the earth alongside humans for the one night. The belief that this time of year allows for interaction between spirits and humans is reflected in other cultures as well.
The accumulation of beliefs that find connections to otherworldly events surrounding Halloween and the blue moon make it hard to believe that something special is not afoot this Halloween.
We will have to wait until October 31st to see what happens, but there is one thing you can be sure of under this seasonal blue moon. You will have plenty of moon light to see the things that go bump in the night. Have a safe and spooky Halloween, Lintonians!