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What is a blue moon

Updated on May 14, 2015

What is a Blue Moon?

It is sung about, dreamt about, acclaimed the world over and yet possibly very few people have ever seen one or know what it is. Do you?

It is the same satellite to the earth that has rotated around it for millions, if not billions, of years. It affects the tides, the growth of plants, the way we act, and it impacts on lovers and others at all times. It is the thing that makes the night so interesting and which encourages us to turn our gaze skywards whenever it appears, even when that happens during the day. But when does the moon turn blue?

If it doesn't actually change color then why do we say it does? Perhaps the answers below will satisfy the mind in resolving this puzzle.

Sun and mMoon Lovers
Sun and mMoon Lovers

The Event Called a Blue Moon

Its possible origins

The solar bodies are important in earth's history as many of the ancient cultures used them for things like navigation, worship of their gods, setting their calendars and so on. The sun being the main body was Mother god of the day and the moon was her consort. 'Mon' is 'man' in Scot and is the origin of the term 'moon'. Many ancient icons showed the sun as the Queen of Heaven and the Moon as her mate. The 'man' as moon gave rise to the tale of the 'man in the moon', which of course no one can see.

Religious events were planned by the appearance and disappearance of the consort. The new moon, quarter moon, full moon and waning moon were important milestones in all cultures researched by me. When the Catholic Church was established in 325 AD by Constantine he quickly altered the relationship to equinox and the crucifixion of god-men and related it to the moon. This was to camouflage its roots in Roman sun worship. Easter Sunday became the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon (PFM) date for the year.

"In June 325 A.D. astronomers approximated astronomical full moon dates for the Christian church, calling them Ecclesiastical Full Moon (EFM) dates. From 326 A.D. the PFM date has always been the EFM date after March 20 (which was the equinox date in 325 A.D.)" (source

Whilst not too much evidence remains of the tricks employed by the clergy to achieve the change there is something written in history that brings a light onto the event. Apparently the term 'Blue Moon' comes from folklore and pagan worship. "Folklore gave each moon a name according to its time of year. A moon which came too early had no folk name - and was called a blue moon - bringing the correct seasonal timings for future moons." (source Wikipedia). From the same source comes this snippet "The Farmers' Almanac defined blue moon as an extra full moon that occurred in a season; one season was normally three full moons. If a season had four full moons, then the third full moon was named a blue moon."

Whatever its origin the Blue Moon is a great romantic favorite having been sung about, dreamt over, used in movies and mysteries for decades. It has just recently been seen in the South Eastern Skies over Australia. It was bigger and closer to the earth than normal and many took pictures as they pondered why it was called by that name.

Blue Moon by Elvis Presley

Moonlight Serenade - Glen Miller and Frank Sinatra

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

Moon Songs

There is almost no limit to the number of tunes dedicated to the moon. This lens shows some of them but you can probably think of dozens more.

Moon River - Audrey Hepburn

Breakfast at Tiffany's

The Moon is Blue - The Movie

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

Its Not Really Blue

So why do people call it the Blue Moon. Is it because it only happens once in a blue moon, that is only occasionally, or is it because that's what everyone else calls it.?

Did you enjoy your visit here. If so please scribe a little note about what you think of this lens. Thank you.

Remember these quizzes will earn you heaps of points

© 2010 norma-holt


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    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      4 years ago from Alabama USA

      I tried to post to your debates, but I was not able to. Great lens, I enjoyed reading it.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love learning about the moon and stars, so I've enjoyed reading your lens. I tried to leave comments in both polls but there seems to be a glitch and they didn't register.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoyed my visit very much. Thank you.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a cute blue moon lens! :) Blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens, filled with as many tidbits about the Moon as it has craters.

    • Commandrix profile image


      6 years ago from Benson, IL

      Hi! Thanks a bunch for featuring my Jupiter Lens here. :) I've always thought it was funny that they call it a "blue moon," but then, I think it's funny that some people still think it's made out of cheese, LOL.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      7 years ago

      I love the moon.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I had known what a blue moon was once upon a time and since had forgotten. Thanks for reminding me as well as for the other information about the moon and the sun, that was stuff I was not aware of. If I keep hanging around here I might get an education.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      7 years ago

      Well done as usual

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      7 years ago

      Well done as usual

    • SAMEPRINCESS10 profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The blue moon from Australia is so beautiful - I never knew blue moons actually existed I always thought it was just a saying.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a magic lens. Congratulations.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens. "bringing down the moon"

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a great lens. I enjoyed the polls that you often put in your lenses.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome lens Norma! Love the video Blue Moon by Elvis. ~ Thank you for explaining what a Blue Moon is, I wondered but never looked up the info. Great lens from a great person. 5 Stars and for once I wish I could give you 5 Moons. ~ BTW: Rod Stewart's new album is called Once in a Blue Moon, I do believe....don't know if its on Amazon yet or not.

      Best wishes with this,


    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      What a nice idea for a lens.

    • sheriangell profile image


      8 years ago

      I liked my visit here a lot. The moon and it's draw is special to me.

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a very nice lens, short and sweet, like I love lenses in general! Great info and nice debate module!


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks Norma,

      This made an enjoyable read over the morning coffee. 5*

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image


      8 years ago

      good information! 5*

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting read. I don't know exactly why, but I am definitely fascinated by the moon. Now that cell phones have cameras, my husband frequently sends pictures of the night sky to me, even when he is just in the backyard:) It isn't unusual to hear the words "come look at the moon" around our house and for everyone to scurry to the door or window. Of course, I love all of the romantic songs about the moon. I think I even remember 3 mice singing about the "Blue Moon." Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens


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