The March full moon, also known as the worm moon, will appear near the middle of the month.
The moon is officially full early on Friday, March 18, at exactly 3:17 a.m. EDT.
You don’t necessarily need to stay up that late (or get up that early, depending on how you look at it) to catch a glimpse of the full moon in all its brightness. It will still appear full to the naked eye for about 24 hours before and after, which will give everyone a chance to see a full-looking moon over the weekend.
Why Do We Call The March Full Moon The Worm Moon?
Full moon names originate in folklore and Native American history, and the names typically relate to the time of year in which they occur.
In the spring, the ground begins to warm up and thaw out. This is when earthworms that spent winter deep in the soil in search of warmth begin to move into the upper layers of dirt, even emerging onto the surface at times.
NASA says the southern tribes of North America were the ones who called March’s moon the “worm” moon. This makes sense because native earthworms were decimated in the north by glaciers; earthworms in those areas today are invasive species from Europe and Asia.
The worm moon goes by other names like crow moon, sap moon and even wind strong moon, but they all have one thing in common — the return of spring.
This is when crows and other birds begin to migrate back to their homes. Also, longer days allow temperatures to warm up just enough for the sap to begin flowing from maple trees. And winds pick up as weather patterns from the changing seasons begin to shift.
The spring is a season of change, and as a result, March’s full moon has earned many names all pointing back to those changes.
The Worm Moon Is The Last Full Moon of Winter
The worm moon and everything about it is a sure sign of the spring season even though it coincides with the final days of winter this year.
March’s full moon typically arrives before the first day of spring simply because it’s still technically winter for the first three weeks in March. This year, the full moon is arriving just a couple of days before the spring season officially begins.
The full worm moon is only one sign spring is right around the corner this year.
Many parts of the country experienced some spring and summer-like temperatures at the start of March when temperatures were anywhere between 5 and 15 degrees warmer than the average.
Plus, most places in the United States begin observing Daylight Saving Time on March 13 – less than a week before the full moon occurs.
The spring season’s first full moon will occur next month on April 16 — nearly a month after the season begins.
No matter when the moon officially arrives in March any given year, we can still count on longer days, warmer temperatures, returning migrating birds, flowing sap — and, yes, worms emerging from the ground.
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This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.