The Harvest Moon: When Was it and What Does it Mean?

On Monday, September 20th, you might have heard that there was a “Harvest moon.” To some people it probably just looked like a really bright, full moon. However, the Harvest Moon represents something else. 

That “something else” is the coming of Autumn. To be exact, it is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox (which was on September 22nd).

The peak illumination of the moon last Monday was at 7:54pm.

According to, “It’s called the harvest moon because the moon rises about the same time every evening for a few nights in a row in the Northern Hemisphere. It provides ample moonlight in the early evening for farmers harvesting summer crops.”

After the autumnal equinox, the hours of daylight start to decrease while the hours of darkness increase, meaning shorter days and longer nights.

The Harvest Moon isn’t always on the same date. Most of the time it is near the end of September, but once in a while it can be in early October, like in 2020. 

Different cultures celebrate the Harvest Moon in unique ways. For example, in Chinese culture, they celebrate something called the “Mid-Autumn Festival,” where they get together with their families, eat a dessert called “mooncake” and watch the moon.

Next year when it’s time for the Harvest Moon, stand outside and check it out!