Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Dog Days Blue Moon

I get so excited when I learn something new! I suppose it's the teacher in me.

A few days ago, I heard talk of a Blue Moon. Of course, I know that people use the expression "once in a blue moon" to mean a rare event. And then, there are all those songs -  

Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone, Without a dream in my heart, Without a love of my own, Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for, You heard me saying a prayer for, Someone I could care for...Originally Written by Rodgers and Hart (1934) 

Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining/Shine on the one that's gone and prove untrue/Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining/Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue...  by Bill Monroe (1947)

What I learned was, there actually is a BLUE MOON. Blue moon refers to an extra full moon in a month, not that the moon changes color. Every two or three years, there is an extra full moon. 

The term BLUE MOON comes from folklore. People have long been fascinated by the moon and many legends and mysteries surround it. After all, we do call that homemade mountain beverage "moonshine." According to Appalachian author Shelia Kay Adams, "The mountain superstition comes in concerning which month it occurs in as each month's moon has a name... Oct. brings the Hunter's Moon and was considered lucky as there would be two full moons to hunt using the moon's light. The name of the moon in August was called Dog Days Moon. This year the 'Blue' Dog Days Moon will be on August 31st." 

Dog days refers to a whole other legend that refers to the time of summer when it is the hottest, usually July to August. The Farmer's Almanac gives the dates of July 3 through August 11 (40 days). Many mountain people believe that during dog days, snakes are blind and therefore more dangerous. They also say if dog days come in rainy, they will stay rainy and if they come in hot and dry, they will stay that way. My mother says to never have surgery during dog days, even minor surgery, because the sore will not heal.
So, remember to gaze at the BLUE Moon on  Friday night, August 31st and think of all the songs, poems, and stories about this wonderful heavenly body.

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