Once in a Blue Moon: Fact or Fiction?

Lore of the Blue Moon

On May 31st the second full moon of the month will appear. Call this second moon of the month a “Blue Moon” and you’re bound to get the hackles up on a folklorist or two. Whatever the exact lunar phenomenon, the colloquial expression “Blue Moon” has seeped into the fabric of our culture. People use the phrase “Once in a blue moon” when referring to something that doesn’t happen all that often. And the name “Blue Moon” is used to name all sorts of products, from bed sheets to beads, cookbooks to storefronts.

Folklorist Philip Hiscock writes in his article Once in a Blue Moon: Fact and Fantasy About Blue Moons: “According to old folklore, some people say, the second full Moon in a calendar month is called a ‘blue Moon.’ They go on to explain that this is the origin of the expression ‘once in a blue Moon.’ But it isn’t true! The term ‘blue Moon’ has been around a long time, well over 400 years, but its calendrical meaning has become widespread only in the last 20 years.”

In the article “What’s a Blue Moon? The trendy definition of Blue Moon” as the second full Moon in a month is a mistake,” the authors reviewed over 40 editions of the Maine Farmer’s Almanac and found more that a dozen references to a Blue Moon. Not one was a moon that occurred twice in one month.

Click to read these above mentioned articles to discover more about the history and folklore of the Blue Moon.

The Blue Moon is only one in a number of lunar event with rich history and folklore. Select any of the following to read more about lunar lore:

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