Don’t Miss the Harvest/GRAIL Moon + Other Notable Celestial Events

The next full Moon will be on Monday evening, September 20, 2021, at 7:55 p.m. EDT. The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning. While the full Moon will be on Monday from Iceland, Liberia, and Senegal westward across the Americas to the International Date Line, it will be on Tuesday for the rest of Africa and Europe eastward across Asia and Australia to the International Date Line.

One Moon, Many Names

As the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox, this is the Harvest Moon, an old European name. The Oxford English Dictionary gives 1706 as the year of its first published use. Farmers sometimes need to work late by the light of the Moon for the harvest.

On average, the full Moon rises about 50 minutes later each night, but around the Harvest Moon – moonrise seems to be at nearly the same time: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the northern United States, and only 10 to 20 minutes later farther north in Canada and Europe.

Other European names for this full Moon are the Fruit Moon, as a number of fruits ripen as the end of summer approaches, and the Barley Moon, from the harvesting and threshing of the barley.

The Maine Farmers’ Almanac first published Native American names for the full Moons in the 1930s, and these names have become widely known and used. According to this almanac, as the full Moon in September – the Algonquin tribes in what is now the northeastern U.S. called this the Corn Moon, as this was the time for gathering their main staple crops of corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice.

“Newer names for this full Moon are the GRAIL Moon and the LADEE Moon, named for two lunar robotic missions launched in September.”
– Gordon Johnston

The Moon’s Connection to Calendars

In the Hebrew calendar, this full Moon falls near the start of the 7-day Sukkoth holiday. Sukkoth is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of the Ingathering. This holiday ties back to the sheltering of the people of Israel during the 40 years in the wilderness in the Book of Leviticus, and also a harvest festival in the Book of Exodus. Often for this holiday, a temporary hut symbolic of a wilderness shelter is built where the family eats, sleeps, and spends time. Sukkoth will start with sundown on Monday, September 20, and end with sundown on Monday, September 27, 2021.

In China, Vietnam, and some other Asian countries, this full Moon corresponds with the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional harvest festival. In China, other names for this festival include the Moon Festival, the Mooncake Festival, and the Reunion Festival (with wives in China visiting their parents, then returning to celebrate with their husbands and his parents). Part of the festival includes offerings to the Moon Goddess Chang’e (the name the China National Space Agency gives their lunar missions). In Korea, this full Moon corresponds with the harvest festival Chuseok, during which Koreans leave the cities to return to their traditional hometowns and pay respect to the spirits of their ancestors.,49621545.html

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