a tickle of words to create smiles

Once in a Blue Moon

Blue Moon as sung by Ella Fitzgerald

Blue Moon
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue Moon
You know just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked to the Moon it turned to gold

Blue Moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked the Moon had turned to gold

Blue moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Blue moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Songwriters: RODGERS, RICHARD/HART, LORENZ

I have always been fascinated by the term, “blue moon” and the stories behind them. I have always believed a “blue moon” to imply a rare occurrence. When I was child, I believe I thought the moon would literally be blue. As the “blue moon” rises, let us take this time to ponder and contemplate its wisdom and beauty. What is the lesson in a “blue moon”, a rare event? Rare moments could be celebrated and cherished? Often rare natural events were revered in history.

Without further ado, I thought it would be appropriate to share what I learned with you. A “blue moon” may either signify the third full moon in a season with four full moons, or the second full moon in a month. The term “blue moon” comes from folklore. Various cultures, traditions and conventions place the extra “blue” full moon at different times in the year. Most of the following information comes from Wikipedia.

The earliest recorded English usage of the term “blue moon” was in a 1524 pamphlet violently attacking the English clergy,[4] entitled “Rede Me and Be Not Wrothe” (“Read me and be not angry”; or possibly “Counsel Me and Be Not Angry”[5]): “If they say the moon is belewe / We must believe that it is true” [If they say the moon is blue, we must believe that it is true].

Another interpretation uses another Middle English meaning of belewe, which (besides “blue”) can mean “betray”.[2] By the 18th century, before the Gregorian calendar reform, the medieval computus was out of sync with the actual seasons and the moon, and occasionally spring would have begun and a full moon passed a month before the computus put the first spring moon.[6][7] Thus, the clergy needed to tell the people whether the full moon was the Easter moon or a false one, which they may have called a “betrayer moon” (belewe moon) after which people would have had to continue fasting for another month by the season of Lent.[8]

Modern interpretation of the term relates to absurdities and impossibilities; the phrase “once in a blue moon” refers to an event that will take place only at incredibly rare occasions.[9]

The most literal meaning of “blue moon” is when the moon (not necessarily a full moon) appears to a casual observer to be unusually bluish, which is a rare event. The effect can be caused by smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere, as has happened after forest fires in Sweden and Canada in 1950 and 1951,[11] and after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which caused the moon to appear blue for nearly two years. Other less potent volcanoes have also turned the moon blue. People saw blue moons in 1983 after the eruption of the El Chichon volcano in Mexico, and there are reports of blue moons caused by Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.[12]

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Maine Farmers’ Almanac listed blue moon dates for farmers. These correspond to the third full moon in a quarter of the year when there were four full moons (normally a quarter year has three full moons). Full moon names are given to each moon in a season: For example, the first moon of summer is called the early summer moon, the second is called the midsummer moon, and the last is called the late summer moon. When a season has four moons the third is called the blue moon so that the last can continue to be called the late moon.

The March 1946 Sky and Telescope article “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett misinterpreted the 1937 Maine Farmers’ Almanac. “Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.” Widespread adoption of the definition of a “blue moon” as the second full moon in a month followed its use on the popular radio program StarDate on January 31, 1980.[1][15] (Wikipedia)

Blue moons between 2009 and 2016 (Wikipedia)

The following blue moons occur between 2009 and 2016. These dates use UTC as the timezone; exact dates vary with different time zones.

Seasonal

Using the Farmers’ Almanac definition of blue moon (meaning the third full moon in a season of four full moons), blue moons occur

  • November 21, 2010
  • August 21, 2013
  • May 21, 2016

It seems that The Farmers’ Almanac, even though it describes the Sky & Telescope ‘invention’ of the new definition, is now using the new definition of blue moon on its calendar,[16] therefore indicating that the blue moon is August 31, 2012 instead of August 21, 2013. (Wikipedia)

Calendar

Unlike the astronomical seasonal definition, these dates are dependent on the Gregorian calendar and time zones.

Two full moons in one month:[17]

  • 2009: December 2, December 31 (partial lunar eclipse visible in some parts of the world), only in time zones west of UTC+05.
  • 2010: January 1 (partial lunar eclipse), January 30, only in time zones east of UTC+04:30.
  • 2010: March 1, March 30, only in time zones east of UTC+07.
  • 2012: August 2, August 31, only in time zones west of UTC+08.
  • 2015: July 2, July 31

The next time New Year’s Eve falls on a Blue Moon (as occurred on 2009 December 31) is after one Metonic cycle, in 2028. At that time there will be a total lunar eclipse. (Wikipedia)

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Comments on: "Once in a Blue Moon" (5)

  1. Very educational and great artwork! Thank you for doing all that research and sharing it!

  2. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words said:

    what great info..some I didn’t know
    I did know the song LOLs
    hope you have a dance under the blue moon….!
    Take Care..
    )0(
    ladyblue

  3. I am delighted you enjoyed my article Lady Blue. I love the idea of having a dance under the blue moon; I am going make that happen with my hubby. ♥ Angi

  4. silly4ever said:

    GORGEOUS artwork, thank you for sharing!!!

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