Thursday 31 December 2009

Blue Moons .... Last day of 2009

Blue Moons: do they exist? – well yes sometimes; are they rare? – well no they occur fairly regularly; are they the same thing? .. no! Is the moon made of green cheese – another idea promulgated in 1529, that’s stuck around. Bad housekeeping causes blue moons – in other words the atmosphere is dirty from this earth of ours exploding and depositing ash into the troposphere.

In 1883 the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa erupted with the effect that the ash microns scattered red light – discriminatory ash I reckon! Other colours were allowed through – hence the blue moon and green cheese effect, which lasted for over two years. For more technical information – just what you need on New Year’s Eve?! please see the site here.

See here for the blue moon as depicted by NASA in this photo.

We probably know the phrase “blue moon” from the1934 popular Rogers and Hart song, or being used as a metaphor for a rare event, expressed as “once in a blue moon”. They do occur relatively regularly .. if you can call 7 times in 19 years ‘relatively regularly’!

Green Cheese Moon -

Moons were named in folklore according to the time of year – usually twelve in preparation for the different growing seasons .. but if a moon came too early, and therefore couldn’t have a seasonal folklore name it was called a “blue moon”. As we know most years have twelve full moons occurring approximately monthly, but the solar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days over and above the lunar year. So about every 2.7154 years this “blue moon” occurs.

The Church being responsible for the calendar ensured that the important date of Easter related to the timings of the full moon. The Lent moon cycle (late winter moon) falls before Easter, while the next full moon is the egg moon (early spring moon) and Easter usually falls on the first Sunday after the full egg moon.

Man in the Moon

Every one to three years, the Lent and egg moons would come too early – the clergy would have to tell people whether the moon was the Lent moon or a false one, which they may have called a “betrayer moon”.

So the term “blue moon” may have come about from the first recorded usage of the term in 1528, in a pamphlet violently attacking the English clergy, entitled:

Rede Me and Be Not Wrothe” (Read me and be not angry)
Yf they say the mone is belewe” (We must believe that it is true)

In 1529 a similar moon-related adage was recorded “They would make men beleue ... that the Moone is made of grene chese” ....

.. reflecting the Old English meaning of belewe as “blue” or “betrayer”.

As the years where there are 13 new moons are relatively rare .. today in the northern hemisphere there is one! – but if you’re in the southern hemisphere the ‘blue moon’ will not occur until late January next year (as it’s only 2009 now).

Harvest Moon

There are two full moons in one month in the following years, based on the Roman calendar and time zones: today, 31 December 2009, the full moon will occur at 19:13 Universal Time.

2012 the year of the Olympics here in London, which will take place between 27 July and 12 August; with the Paralympic Games occurring between 29 August and 9 September – covers the two full moons on August 2nd and August 31st.

2015: will have full moons on July 2nd and July 31st.

I haven’t mentioned the two American Farmer’s Almanacs either, both of which are still published today – so the old is not the old! Oh well ... it is the last day of 2009. Then there’s the Sumerian Farmer’s Almanac, dated around 1500 BCE, discovered by an American expedition to Iraq in 1949.

The clay tablet is tiny (3 inches x 4 ½ inches), forming part of the middle section of the overall almanac – the complete document contains 109 lines of text, written by a farmer for his son giving instructions for the purpose of guiding him through their agricultural activities: which we can read about 3,500 years later.

This is a terribly simplified article about blue moons – without fully clarifying all aspects, beliefs and cultures, let alone which half of the planet you live in .. so for details on Harvest Moons, Hunter’s Moons, Black Moons, Wet Moons, seasonal moons and many more please see the net and Wikipedia.

A Black Moon means there is no moon in the month of February; but does that mean in Australia and the southern hemisphere January is a month with two moons – it appears it may do .... but is 2010 a year with 12 or 13 moons? I don’t know .. as these brains have had it – and the Roman calendar and time zones only enlighten me as far as Universal Time is concerned – not even GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

Happy New Year everyone – and thank you to Devon Ellington for reminding me that there is a Blue Moon today in the northern hemisphere – in his latest post here in “Ink in My Coffee – A Writer’s Journal”.

Dear Mr Postman – another calendar year has come round and my Ma, when she’s awake, is as with it as ever – quite amazing ... I still get ticked off!! Oh well ... I don’t think we’ll be seeing the Blue Moon here it is cloudy .. but if we’re lucky perhaps they’ll clear away in another 4 hours. Here’s to a happy New Year to you and thank you for continuing to deliver my letters for me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Tess said...

I've always loved the moon! This is crazy but when I was in high school madly in love with my husband the Simon and Garfunkel song came out "I am a rock." My girlfriends and I all decided to name ourselves something. So I was the sun and I named Roger the moon.

Marriages like ours 38 years in 2 weeks come along once in a blue moon;) We've been together since I was 17 and pregnant!

Thanks for the moon info...I love it!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tess .. great .. what an amazing connection .. just by sheer chance - was it the 13th? Congratulations on 38 years to come .. well more than that I guess .. proves that young love can last.

So pleased you liked it .. just makes a difference to end the year on! It is cloudy .. so no blue moon here .. well it's hidden!

Enjoy this evening and to a really successful 2010 ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Patricia said...

Oh I love all this moon imagery and lore and I remember one Autumn when the girl's teacher shared about 2 moons in one month, which he called a blue moon - I thought it was rare, near Halloween.

The nights have been extremely clear and cold and the moon has been in my eyes nearly all night long...I thought it was full on the 28th? but today a full of clouds and rain which is steady and I think we will not see if this is true.

Enjoy your moon visions....and maybe a "moon pie"? and best wishes for your new year...My mum was quite awake for her last New Year and very, with it! It was a lovely evening...we read and finished a book she was enjoying...

I like to enter the new year quietly...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. Well the blue moon came out here and got stronger through the night - so now we have a frost. So we did have one of those rare (7 in 19 years) blue moons .. not blue as in colour. It sounds as though you missed it with your cloud cover. I love the moon coming in the bedroom and shining out.

How lovely that your Ma could enjoy her last New Year - Mum wasn't too awake yesterday .. perhaps today she'll be more awake.

Me too - it was a very quiet entry! but here's to a successful 2010 -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

BK said...

Hi Hilary, a Happy New Year to you and your family.

Blue Bunny said...

Blue bunny moooooon.
Yoo saw me standing there.
Witout a love of my owne.

my mostest favrit is the blue korn moon, as I luvving korn. and the harvesting moon yoo menshuns, make my think of my jannies gardin wit karrits, punkins and salid lettis. yummie in my tummie.

Happee Yeer.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BK - same to you for the coming year .. Symphony of Love sounds good to me.
Enjoy 2010 - Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BB - tout of U 'nd yur blu tintd hillsde ful of BBs mny frinds singng blooo bunni mooooon. U hve a love of ur owne - yors Jannies.

Blu korn moooon snds gud - dn't eets all thm eears plz: we liek thms too. Ur Jannie werks hard wiv her gardn, snging, her Kelly - tummies lies to be ful ..

Yo 2 .. Happpee newsy year ..
xoxoxo from Hardwick to all BBs fambily