The calendar tells us that the season is changing. But for many early cultures the change of seasons and annual cycle was marked by the occurrence of full moons, and we have a full moon coming up on the 28th. As most everyone knows, the full moons were so significant to early cultures that they were given names.
I have read that the Sioux referred to the March full moon as the When Eyes Are Sore from Bright Sun Moon. That is a fitting description. The sun has some power now, and after a fresh Marsh snowfall (which usually happens) we often see people wearing sunglasses and commenting on the brightness of the big white blanket.
Some Native American tribes from northern regions referred to the March full moon as the Full Crow Moon. Historically, crows were largely summer residents across much of Canada and the northern United States. So the designation is a reference to the crows being observed more frequently, an indication winter was drawing to a close and spring about to arrive.
The March full moon was also called the Full Sap Moon. It marked the time to tap the maples! By the way, if you have never tried real maple syrup, you owe it to yourself to try it at least once. It is a bit spendy, but treat yourself! It’s good stuff!
The Full Crust Moon is another name for the March full moon. It is a rather obvious reference to the melting temperatures during the day and sub-freezing temperatures at night which forms a hard crusty surface on the snow. Some southern Native American tribes referred to the March full moon as the Full Worm Moon because it is during this time of the year that the ground starts to soften up, and the worm casts begin to appear. That obviously does not apply to our region.
Full moons, regardless of the time of year, have the reputation of bringing out exuberant or strange behaviors in humans. Ask most any bartender about behavior in their establishment during a full moon and you are likely to get an interesting response. After all, the words lunacy and lunatic are almost certainly a reference to full moons.
So enjoy the full moon, and reflect a bit on its cultural significances. Oh, and watch out for the lunatics!