When Is the Full Moon in February? Snow Moon Meaning Explained

February's full moon reaches its peak on Wednesday and is known as the Snow Moon. The moon will be at its fullest illumination at approximately 11:59 a.m. ET on the night of February 16, according to Old Farmer's Almanac.

For the best view of the Snow Moon, skywatchers should observe it on this night or on the night before.

The meaning of the name Snow Moon is fairly straightforward, it comes from the fact that February is the month in which the United States tends to experience heavy snowfall.

Old Farmer's Almanac says that the name was first used in the 1760s by Captain Jonathan Carver. The early explorer of North America and the author of many travel guides, Carver wrote the name for this period of the year was the Snow Moon because "more snow commonly falls during this month than any other in the winter."

Old Farmer's Almanac says that Carver's suspicions are backed up by data from the National Weather Service which shows that February is indeed the United States' snowiest month.

Other Names for February's Full Moon

Most of the names used for full moons come from Native American, Colonial American, and European sources, with each name often used to describe the entire lunar month.

One alternative name for the Snow Moon also focuses on the period's harsh weather conditions, the Storm Moon.

Many other alternative names for the Snow Moon that originate from Native Americans are centered around animals. The Cree people, whose domain included a large area across what is now Canada ranging from east of Hudson Bay and James Bay as far west as Alberta and Great Slave Lake according to Britannica, named it the Bald Eagle Moon.

Also using the bird theme were the Haida people, who had territories in British Columbia, Canada and Alaska, who called February's full moon the Goose Moon.

The Ojibwa tribe of what is now southern Canada, the northern Midwestern United States and Northern Plains, called February's full moon the Bear Moon, while the Tlingit peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America called it the Black Bear Moon.

Both the Dakota people and some of the Algonquin tribe named the February full moon after slightly less fierce and smaller mammals, calling it the Raccoon Moon and Groundhog Moon respectively.

Another theme for this winter full moon for Native Americans reflected the lack of resources and food brought by the season.

Old Farmer's Almanac says that the Cherokee called February the "Month of the Bony Moon" and had the alternative name for the Snow Moon of the Hungry Moon.

For Buddhists, this full moon corresponds with the second most important festival of the year, Māgha Pūjā. According to NASA, the celebration is held on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, and on the full moon day of Tabaung, Myanmar.

When Are the Next Full Moons in 2022?

The next full moon in 2022 is the Worm Moon which will be fully illuminated on March 18 at 3:17 a.m. The following table shows the rest of 2022's full moons, their dates, names, and times in U.S. Eastern Time.

March 18Worm Moon3:17 a.m.
April 16Pink Moon2:55 p.m.
May 16Flower Moon12:14 a.m.
June 14Strawberry Moon7:52 a.m.
July 13Buck Moon2:37 p.m.
August 11Sturgeon Moon9:36 p.m.
September 10Harvest Moon5:59 a.m.
October 9Hunter's Moon4:55 p.m.
November 8Beaver Moon6:02 a.m.
December 7Cold Moon11:08 p.m.
february full moon snow moon
The moon rises over Glastonbury Tor on January 11, 2017 in Somerset, England. February's full moon is the snow moon. Matt Cardy/Getty Images