Lunar Calendar

Many ancient civilizations base their calendar on the lunar cycle, probably because the moon looms large in the night sky. The highly visible phase changes of the moon made observations and timekeeping fairly easy. The early Italians, including the Romans, apparently had a lunar calendar, which began in the spring. The first month, March, was dedicated to Mars in his aspect as the God of planting.

Lunar calendars have a built-in problem: lunar months do not synchronize perfectly to the solar year. Eventually, lunar calendars get out of step with the seasons and must be adjusted to continue marking the dates for planting and harvesting. This procedures is referred to as intercalation.

The Romans had a particularly complicated form of intercalation, which became even more confusing when they switched over to a solar year.

According to Nova Roma:

The ancient Romans did not use days of the week and number their days of the month as we do today. The ancient reckoning of days of the month was by counting back from either the Kalends, Nones, or Ides of the month. Counting was done inclusively; i.e., the third day of Januarius would be recokoned "three days before the Nones of Januarious" or "III Non. Ian." The year begins with the month of Martius (this was later changed to the month of Januarius by Gaius Julius Caesar, but Nova Roma retains the earlier, more traditional starting date).
As I've been trying to focus on the flavor of the early Italian culture, I, like Nova Roma, started my calendar table in the Spring. Properly speaking, a Wiccan lunar calendar should start in the Fall, as the Celtic new year and the Wiccan new year begin with Samhain. This points out the difference in cultures as to how they number their calendars. What is more important? Seed time or harvest time? The Celtic new year began with the harvest, because it allowed debts to be paid and final accountings to be completed. The Romans initially counted the Spring as more important.

Apparently the Roman calendar was originally lunar. The first day of each month was the Kalends, which was sacred to Juno. From what I've read, the Kalends originally fell on the first day of the visible waxing moon. Later, the Kalends was assigned a time having to do with the solar year. As stated by Nova Roma, each of these solar Roman months had three key dates. The other dates were defined as so many days after the Kalends or so many days before the Nones, etc. The Nones fell on the fifth day of June, August, September, November, December, January, February, and April. In March, May, July, and October, the Nones fell on the seventh day. The word, Nones, meant "nine," because it fell nine days before the third important date, the Ides. I can only assume this very complicated system evolved from trying to adjust a lunar calendar to a solar calendar system.

Julius Caesar is responsible for the creation of the Julian calendar. He set the new year near the winter solstice, because this was an astronomical event unrelated to local agriculture cycles or cultural calendars. By imposing the Julian calendar on the Empire, he made it easier to collect taxes. As an added bonus, the first month of the Roman Julian calendar was Januarius. It was dedicated to January, the God of doors and gates, who had two faces looking forward and backwards. According to Ovidius Fasti: "Ovidius asked of Janus, 'Why do we now celebrate the New Year in the middle of Winter rather than as it was celebrated in the past during the Spring?' Janus answered: 'Midwinter is the beginning of the new Sun and the end of the old one. Phoebus and the year take their start from the same point.'"

Martius Third
Full Moon
of the year
Fish Moon
Crow Moon
Lenten Moon
Chaste Moon
Sap Moon
Worm Moon
Worm Moon (A)
Crow Moon (A)
Sap Moon (A)
Moon when the juice drips from the trees (D)
Light Snow Moon (C)
Long Days Moon (W)
Seventh Moon (W)
Spring Moon
Raven Moon
Eostre Moon
Wind Moon
Budding Moon
Sap Moon
Full Moon
of the year
Planter's Moon
Easter Moon
Egg Moon
Grass Moon
Seed Moon
Sprouting Grass Moon (A)
Pink Moon (A)
Egg Moon (A)
Fish Moon (A)
Spring Moon (C)
Little Frogs Croaking Moon (O)
Sticky Mud Plant Moon (L)
Eighth Moon (W)
Meadow Moon
Grass Moon
Seed Moon
Egg Moon
Rain Moon
Mud Moon
Maius Fifth
Full Moon
of the year
Milk Moon
Mother's Moon
Hare Moon
Flower Moon (A)
Corn Planting Moon (A)
Milk Moon (A)
Moon of the shedding ponies (S)
Time when the horses get fat (C)
Ninth Moon (W)
Flower Moon
Beltane Moon
Corn Planting Moon
Maia's Moon
Faerie Moon
Junius Sixth
Full Moon
of the year
Rose Moon
Strawberry Moon
Honey Moon
Flower Moon
Hot Moon
Diad Moon
Stockman's Moon
Strawberry Moon (A)
Moon of Making Fat (S)
Ripening Strawberries Moon (K)
Hoeing Corn Moon (O)
Rotten Moon (W)
Rose Moon
Midsummer Moon
Summer Solstice Moon
Strawberry Moon
Mulberry Moon
Green Grain Moon
Lightning Bug Moon
Litha Moon
Quinctilis Seventh
Full Moon
of the year
Buck Moon
Thunder Moon
Hay Moon
Mead Moon
Summer Moon
Buck Moon (A)
Thunder Moon (A)
Moon when the cherries are ripe (S)
Corn Tassle Moon (L)
Buck Moon
Horned Moon
Thunder Moon
Hot Moon
Independence Moon
Fireworks Moon
Sextilis Eighth
Full Moon
of the year
Dog Day's Moon
Woodcutter's Moon
Sturgeon Moon
Green Corn Moon
Grain Moon
Wort Moon
Sturgeon Moon (A)
Red Moon (A)
Green Corn Moon(A)
Moon when the cherries turn black (S)
Time when the cherries are ripe (C)
Immature Corn Moon (L)
All the Elk Call Moon (O)
Blackberry Patches Moon (W)
Grain Moon
Wheat Cut Moon
Bread Moon
Lammas Moon
Lughnasadh Moon
First Harvest Moon
Diana's Moon
September Ninth
Full Moon
of the year
Harvest Moon
Fruit Moon
Dying Grass Moon
Barley Moon
Harvest Moon (A)
Moon of the Black Calves (S)
Moon when the plums are scarlet (S)
Cool Moon (C)
Her Acorns Moon (W)
Corn in the Milk Moon (L)
Harvest Moon
Ingathering Moon
Harvest Home Moon
Michaelmas Moon
Goose Moon
Barley Moon
Acorn Moon
Second Harvest Moon
Autumn Equinox Moon
Autumn Moon
Leaf Fall Moon
Fruit Moon
October Tenth
Full Moon
of the year
Hunter's Moon
Blood Moon
Hunter's Moon (A)
Moon of the Changing Season (S)
Her Leaves Moon (W)
Travel in Canoes Moon (W)
Ripe Corn Moon (L)
Deer Running Season Moon (O)
Hunter's Moon
Samhain Moon
All Hallows Moon
New Year Moon
Third Harvest Moon
Final Harvest Moon
Blood Moon
Pumpkin Moon
Shadow Moon
November Eleventh
Full Moon
of the year
Beaver Moon
Frosty Moon
Snow Moon
Beaver Moon (A)
Moon of the Falling Leaves (S)
Her Frost Moon (W)
Snowy mountains in the morning Moon (W)
Autumn Moon (L)
Every buck loses his horns Moon (O)
Larder Moon
Freezing Moon
Frost Moon
Hunter's Moon
Antler Shed Moon
December Twelfth
Full Moon
of the year
Christmas Moon
Long Night Moon
Moon Before Yule
Oak Moon
Cold Moon (A)
Long Night's Moon (A)
Moon of the popping trees (S)
Her Winter Houses Moon (W)
Cold Month Moon (O)
Yule Moon
Long Night Moon
Moon Before Yule
Oak Moon
Cold Moon
Winter Solstice Moon
Natilis Moon
Januarius First
Full Moon
of the year
Winter Moon
Yule Moon
Wolf Moon (A)
Old Moon (A)
Moon of frost in the teepee (S)
Her Cold Moon (W)
Little young bear comes down the tree (O)
Snow Moon
Tres Los Reyes Magos Moon
Twelfth Night Moon
New Calendar Year Moon
Ice Moon
Februarius Second
Full Moon
of the year
Trapper's Moon
Snow Moon
Storm Moon
Snow Moon (A)
Hunger Moon (A)
Moon of the dark red calves (S)
Shoulder Moon (W)
Racoon's Rutting Season (O)
Wolf Moon
Storm Moon
Snow Moon
Inbolc Moon
Brigid's Moon
White Moon
Cold Moon
Fireplace Moon
Coyote Frightened Moon
Sick Moon
Ashes Moon
Ground Hog's Day
Badger Day
Hedgehog Day

Native American Indian tribes: (A) Algonquin, (C) Cheyenne, (D) Delaware, (K) Kutenai, (L) Laguna, (O) Oto,
(S) Lakota Sioux, (W) Wisham

Kim Long, The Moon Book, 1988
Nova Roma,
A. J. Drew, A Wiccan Bible, 2003

Blue Moon

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