With summer most officially coming to an end with Thursday night’s first post-autumnal equinox full moon, aka, the Harvest Moon, it is time to get into the fall groove. Perhaps there is no better way to celebrate the end of summer than to embrace the new season. And with a giant, orange-tinted moon hanging low in the October night sky, it likely won’t be that hard to conjure some good feels.
In 2021, the Harvest Moon rises on Monday, September 20!
One thing that sets the Harvest Moon apart from other full Moon names is that it’s not associated with a specific month, as the others are. Instead, the Harvest Moon relates to the timing of the autumnal equinox , with the full Moon that occurs nearest to the equinox being the one to take on the name “Harvest Moon.” This means that the Harvest Moon can occur in either September or October, depending on how the lunar cycle lines up with the Gregorian calendar.
For several evenings, the moonrise comes soon after sunset. This results in an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which was a traditional aide to farmers and crews harvesting their summer-grown crops. Hence, it’s called the “Harvest” Moon!
According to NASA, the Harvest Moon will appear full for about three days this year, with peak illumination around 7:55 p.m. ET on Monday night.
It will last through Wednesday morning, however.
“Harvest moon: around the pond I wander and the night is gone.” — Matsuo Basho
“Shine and shimmer my Harvest Moon, illuminate the shadows in the sky.” — A.F. Stewart
And Fall, with her yeller harvest moon and the hills growin’ brown and golden under a sinkin’ sun. Roy Bean
“Under the harvest moon, when the soft silver drips shimmering over the garden nights, death, the gray mocker comes and whispers to you as a beautiful friend who remembers.” — Carl Sandburg
The Harvest Moon glows round and bold, In pumpkin shades outlined in gold, Illuminating eerie forms, Unnatural as a candied corn. Beware what dare crawls up your sleeve, For ’tis the night called Hallows Eve. – Richelle E. Goodrich
“Summer was over, no more sleeping under an open window. The wind ruffled the grasses, swayed in the hedge. A light came on across the way. I thought: that can’t be good, news that comes in the dark.” — Theo Dorgan
“It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes and roofs of villages, on woodland crests and their aerial neighborhoods of nests deserted, on the curtained window-panes of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes and harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The stranded Daoine Sidhe knights of the Dark Court gathered at the ring of ancient standing stones under the pale light of the harvest moon.
Whenever the Daoine Sidhe gathered, they raised the natural energies of the world around them. – Thea Harrison
“The harvest moon has no innocence, like the slim quarter moon of a spring twilight, nor has it the silver penny brilliance of the moon that looks down upon the resorts of summer time. Wise, ripe, and portly, like an old Bacchus, it waxes night after night.” — Donald C. Peattie
“The merry-go-round was running, yes, but… It was running backward. The small calliope inside the carousel machinery rattle-snapped its nervous-stallion shivering drums, clashed its harvest-moon cymbals, toothed its castanets, and throatily choked and sobbed its reeds, whistles, and baroque flutes.” — Ray Bradbury
A full harvest moon lit the sky. In its glow, there appeared an old woman dressed in black lace. A shimmering veil covered her head. With her back to the old oak tree, she keened wildly. Her cry was carried by the autumn winds and lost on the wings of the nightingales. – AnneMarie Dapp
“Every fifteen minutes or so the harvest moon would bleed through the tourniquet of cloud cover that conspired to squeeze every droplet of pictorial sentiment out of the Skagit landscape in order that a more refined Chinese moon might brush the countryside. In the aloof washes of moonlight no form seemed to stir.” — Tom Robbins
“The flame-red moon, the harvest moon, rolls along the hills, gently bouncing, a vast balloon, till it takes off, and sinks upward to lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon. The harvest moon has come, booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon. And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.” — Ted Hughes