The January full moon is traditionally called the Wolf Moon because wolves can be heard howling at the moon more around this time of year. It was believed that wolves howled more during the winter due to hunger. However, howling can also be a sign of wolves defining territory, trying to locate other pack members, reinforcing social bonds or coordinating hunting, according to The Farmers’ Almanac.
In addition to “Wolf Moon,” the January full moon has a few other monikers it goes by. For example, the Assiniboine people of the Northern Great Plains have referred to this month’s full moon as the Center Moon because it rises during the middle of the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to The Farmers’ Almanac, other full moon names include the Cold Moon, the Frost Exploding Moon, the Freeze Up Moon, the Severe Moon, the Hard Moon, the Canada Goose Moon, the Great Moon, the Greetings Moon and the Spirit Moon — all of which represent the extreme temperatures of the winter season and welcoming of the New Year. NASA’s full moon guide also refers to January’s Wolf Moon as the Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule and the Old Moon.