Ring out the old
Ring in the new
Ring out the false
Ring in the true.
New calendar today; get out your Farmer’s Almanac and check the heavens for a preview of the year ahead. Only once in a blue moon there is one on New Year’s Eve. Revelers ringing in a new year haven’t been treated to a so-called blue moon since the 2009-2010 changeover. And the next couple of years will be stingy in numbers of ‘blue moons’: you won’t have the chance to enjoy one again till July 31, 2015!
As to where the phrase ‘Once in a blue moon’ comes from, one explanation connects it with the word belewe from the Old English, meaning to betray. Perhaps, then, the moon was belewe because it betrayed the usual perception of one full moon per month. “Yf they saye the mone is belewe, We must beleve that it is true,” says William Barlow, the Bishop of Chichester [England], in the Treatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, 1528. There are twelve full moons in most years, which means that three full moons occur during most seasons. One season in ten contains four full moons; hence the third moon that occurs in such a season would be the belewe, or blue, moon.
Meantime, the full moon this month is actually called the ‘Old Moon,’Moon After Yule,’ or ‘Wolf Moon.’ The Cherokee called it ‘The Cold Moon–Unolvtani.’ They usually hold a Cold Moon Dance in the community, marking the passing or ending of one cycle of seasons and welcoming the beginning of the new cycle. The Shawnee called it the ‘Severe Moon–Ha’kwi kiishthwa.’For these Native Americans, Pepoonwi rules this half of the year. This grandfather sits in the north at ice mountain. He carries the cold weather, but flees before the mild warm winds of Shawaki.