Shining Bright: The Meaning Behind the Harvest Moon

A full moon in a clear dusk sky over ears of wheat. Text in the middle of the image says

How you can see autumn's first full moon tonight

We’re finally into autumn and signs of the season can be seen all throughout nature, even up above us in the night sky. If you look up to the stars near the end of September, you’ll be able to see the spectacular Harvest Supermoon!

The harvesting of crops is an event normally associated with late summer and early autumn, with the Harvest Moon named after this agricultural activity. Its nickname comes from way back before electricity was readily available to all households across the United States, particularly in rural areas surrounded by farmland. The farmers would devote much of their time to harvesting their crops so the Moon’s light would aid them in doing this late into the night. The Harvest Moon is alternatively known as the Barley Moon, Fruit Moon and Full Corn Moon – each of these also having ties to the farm harvest!

Although it can be easily understood as the full moon in September 2023, the Harvest Moon is officially defined as the full moon closest to the September equinox. This is a celestial event occurring on September 22nd or 23rd each year when the Earth’s tilt places it upright and the Sun shines directly on the equator. This means that both hemispheres experience exactly 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime instead of longer summer days or longer winter nights. The September equinox is often seen as the start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

A graphic showing the Sun shining on the Earth's equator. Text says

Not only will we be experiencing a Harvest Moon this month, but it’ll also be the last 2023 Supermoon. This is when the Moon is orbiting closer to the Earth than normal, so it appears larger in the sky for a few months each year. So if you want extra moonlight for some cosy autumnal activities, head outside on 29th September to see the 2023 Harvest Moon and final Supermoon.

If Harvest Moon is a phrase that sounds familiar to you, there could be a very good reason for this:

  • There’s a popular Japanese video game series called Harvest Moon where you play a character who begins tending to a farm, growing and harvesting crops and looking after livestock. If you’re someone who enjoys spending cosy autumn evenings playing relaxing simulation games, this series could be for you!
  • Notable musician Neil Young wrote a popular country-rock song called Harvest Moon, which appeared on his 1992 album of the same name. Why not have a listen and see if it’s a song to add to your autumn playlist?
  • If you’ve travelled to East Asia during September, you may have found yourself getting caught up in the excitement of a country’s Mid-Autumn festival! These are large celebrations held around the September equinox that involve decorating towns and cities with paper lanterns and baking and eating red bean-filled pastries called Mooncakes. These festivals have many names, but Japan’s is called Tsukumi or the Harvest Moon Festival.

Four photos in a grid. Top left: A handheld video game console playing Harvest Moon 3D. Top right: Neil Young shouting and holding a guitar. Bottom left: Two people standing in front of a wall of paper lanterns. Bottom right: Two mooncakes in boxes in front of red flowers.

So gather your loved ones and look up at the Harvest Supermoon, shining bright amongst the mysteries of the universe. Did you know you can commemorate this special lunar moment with a unique gift by naming a star after a loved one through Star Name Registry? Just as the moon brightens our nights, your named star will twinkle in the vast universe, a lasting symbol of your curiosity.

The 2023 Harvest Supermoon is an opportunity to connect with the rhythms of nature and the vastness of the universe. As it graces our night sky on September 29th, remember the beauty of this astronomical event and the chance to name a star after someone special. Embrace the magic of the night sky and create a timeless gift that will shine as brightly as the moon itself.

Don't miss your chance to dedicate a star to someone you adore. Visit Star Name Registry today and give the gift of a star – a token of love that will shine for eternity. Name a star, make a memory, and let your connection to the cosmos be a promise of the enduring bond you share.

A full moon on a cloudy sky with a few stars. Four of the stars are named: