What is a Worm Moon? Meaning and origins of the monicker given to the March full moon

The Worm Moon's history is more complicated than its predecessor, the Snow Moon, and provides a vital turning point for us all

Worm moon—day and night time change concept above summer landscape with lake on high altitude. beautiful scenery of fagaras mountain ridge. open view in to the distant peak beneath a clouds with sun and moon
(Image credit: Mike_Pellinni/Getty Images)

The Worm Moon takes to the sky in the third calendar month of the year. This lunation is considered a great turning point in the year and has a fascinating history.

Although its origins are often debated, one thing that's certain is that this lunar cycle is one of the more pivotal in the moon calendar. Joining us after the February Snow Moon, this lunation screams springtime, life, and new beginnings. 

March full moon 2022 occurs shortly before the Spring Equinox, hitting us as the seasons change, many people believe that its name is related to the earthworms that begin to appear as the soil thaws and warms in spring. Simple, right? 

Well, according to research into the Worm Moon, it may actually have an entirely different source altogether.


What does the Worm Moon mean?

According to The Farmer's Almanac (opens in new tab), each month's monicker comes from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources.

They claim that more research revealed another explanation altogether. "In the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver visited the Naudowessie (Dakota) and other Native American tribes and wrote that the name Worm Moon refers to a different sort of 'worm'—beetle larvae—which begin to emerge from the thawing bark of trees and other winter hideouts at this time."

Lenten and Paschal Moon—what's the difference?

The Worm Moon also has names related to the Christian religion, and this lunation is of specific importance to Christianity as it tends to fall around the Easter period.

The Farmer's Almanac reports that the March full moon is called the Lenten full moon if it falls before the Spring Equinox, conversely, the Paschal Moon if it falls after.

As this year sees the full moon fall before the Spring Equinox on March 20, 2022, it's  known as a Lenten Moon. This means that April's full moon will be the Paschal full moon.

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.