Blue Moon Days (2021)
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Our eyes are drawn to the blue horizon,
the shimmering dot of the evening star.
We lose ourselves in the dance
of the moon, the darkening sky, the stray cat,
the pipistrelle whispering its winging,
the slugs who slither to lick our toes.
And the whole world is indigo."
~ Blue Moon, Linda Frances
Folklore has named each of the 12 full moons in a year according to its time of year. The occasional 13th full moon that came too early for its season was called a "blue moon", so that the rest of the moons that year retained their customary seasonal names. Although the modern meaning of the phrase "once in a blue moon" has evolved to mean something that rarely occurs, some etymologists suggest that the term blue replaces the original archaic word "belewe" (to betray). The "betrayer moon", referring to an extra full moon in a season that would normally be the full moon of spring, would be (in an intercalary year), a "traitorous" moon in the sense that people would have had to continue fasting for another month in accordance with the season of Lent. According to astronomers, the next 100% illuminated Hallowe'en full Moon will not take place again until 2039! 💙 🎃 🌔 💙
Blue Moon Rendezvous
"Once in a Blue Moon" is an expression used to describe something that doesn't happen very often.
The phrase has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon, although a literal "blue moon" (the moon appearing with a tinge of blue) may occur in certain atmospheric conditions: e.g., if volcanic eruptions or fires leave particles in the atmosphere of just the right size to preferentially scatter red light.
Astronomically, a "blue moon" is an additional full moon that appears in a subdivision of a year: either the third of four full moons in a season, or a second full moon in a month of the common calendar.
Folklore in many cultures has specially named each of the 12 full moons in a year according to its time of year. The occasional 13th full moon that came too early for its season was called a "blue moon", so that the rest of the moons that year retained their customary seasonal names.
Historians have suggested that the term "blue moon" may have arisen by folk etymology, with the term "blue" replacing the no-longer-understood word "belewe," meaning 'to betray'. The original meaning would then have been "betrayer moon", referring to a full moon that would normally be the full moon of spring, while in an intercalary year (with an additional moon), it was "traitorous" in the sense that people would have had to continue fasting for another month in accordance with the season of Lent.
Red Thistle Dancer/Director and Devisor Fred DeMarse created this dance for Linda Henderson on the occasion of her first Scottish Country Dance teaching engagement in Truckee, California, on June 30, 2007, which coincided with the occurrence of a Blue Moon!
Master quilter and dancer Marilyn Stocker created a quilt panel gift marking the occasion (below).
For the history and analysis of how blue moons are calculated and how the common definition has changed in this century click the "Blue Moon" quilt panel, a gift created by master quilter and dancer Marilyn Stocker to mark the occasion.