Harvest Moon to rise Thursday; first of two full moons in October

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Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Thursday will mark the first of two full moons for the month of October -- the so-called Harvest Moon.

The moon will be at its fullest at 5:05 p.m. EDT Thursday and should appear full through Saturday morning.

Since it's the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (Sept. 22), it's known as the Harvest Moon in many parts of the world. Most years, though, it falls in September. The moniker dates back to at least 1706, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Various cultures worldwide have given it different names.

The Algonguin tribes in the United States call the first full moon of fall the Travel Moon, the Dying Grass Moon, the Sanguine Moon or the Blood Moon -- some of which appear to reference the changing colors of leaves, NASA says.

Travel Moon could be related to the migration of animals as they prepare for winter.

Some Asian countries, including China and Vietnam, associate this particular full moon with their mid-autumn festivals. In China, such festivals may bear the names Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival.

In Japan, people participate in tsukimi, or moon-viewing festivals, at this time of year. The tradition of offering sweet potatoes gave the moon the name Imomeigetsu, or Potato Harvest Moon.

In Laos, the moon is linked to a boat racing festival called Boun Suang Huea, and in Sri Lanka, they call the moon Vap Poya, which comes before a festival in which people give new robes to monks.

Buddhists call the moon Pavarana to mark the end of Vassa, a three-month period of fasting associated with monsoon season.

In Judaism, the full moon falls near the beginning of the Sukkoth holiday, a seven-day event in the middle of the lunar month of Tishrei. Sukkoth begins on Friday.

The next full moon will take place Oct. 31. Because it will be the second full moon of the calendar month, it'll be a Blue Moon.

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