The December Full Moon, also known as the Cold Moon, will be observed on December 27, 2023, around 00:33 UTC. As the name suggests, it is simply the full moon observed in December which marks the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere countries. 

The cold moon is usually observed during the Winter solstice (the time of the year when the sun is at a maximum distance from the Northern hemisphere. This results in the shortest day and longest night). 

December Full Moon or Cold Moon

Origin and meaning of the name Cold Moon 

The term 'Cold Moon' became popular after Old Farmer's Almanac, a yearly American periodical, used it to refer to the full Moon in December. 

In the olden days, most people used to track seasonal changes by observing the moon phases in the sky or using the lunar calendar. The Native Americans did the same and came up with the name Cold Moon because it depicts the cold winter season. The Colonial Americans also adopted this name with time.

Moon Phases in December 2023

Moon Phases in December 2023

Last Quarter: It will occur on Tuesday, December 5 around 05:49 UTC.

New Moon: It will occur a week later on Tuesday, December 12 around 23:32 UTC.

First Quarter: It will occur exactly a week later again on Tuesday, December 19 around 18:39 UTC.

Full Moon (Cold Moon): It will occur on Wednesday, December 27 around 00:33 UTC.

Upcoming December Full Moon 

2024: The full moon will be observed on Sunday, December 15 around 09:02 UTC. 

2025: The full moon will occur on Thursday, December 4 around 23:14 UTC.

2026: The full moon will be observed on Thursday, December 24 around 01:28 UTC. 

2027: The full moon will be observed on Monday, December 13 around 16:09 UTC. 

Cold Moon alternative names and their meaning

Long Night Moon: The Mohicans (Native North American Tribe) were the first people to call the Full Moon in December the Long Night Moon. There were two reasons behind it. First, the Cold Moon is observed at a time of the year when nights are the longest. Secondly, the December Full Moon stays above the horizon for a greater amount of time than the other full moons. 

Moon before Yule: This name comes from the ancient Winter festival called Yule which was originally celebrated by the Germanic peoples. The Yuletide festival marks the return of the sun after the Winter Solstice.

Moon when the deer shed their antlers: If you did not know already, a deer can shed and regenerate its antlers completely. They shed their antlers due to certain hormonal changes that usually occurs during late November to December. This name was first used by the Dakota tribe (Native American Tribe). 

There are some other names obtained from the general weather conditions in winter: 

  • Drift Clearing Moon
  • Frost Exploding Trees Moon 
  • Oak Moon
  • Moon of the Popping Trees
  • Snow Moon
  • Little Spirit Moon
  • Hoar Frost Moon
  • Winter Maker Moon

Interesting fact: The Full Moon in December was on the same day as Christmas (25th December) in the year 2015 and will once again be observed on the day of Christmas in 2034.