The Full Blue Moon haunting of Halloween returns after 76 years — and here's why it was silent since World War II

The Full Blue Moon haunting of Halloween returns after 76 years — and here's why it was silent since World War II
October 31 Full Blue MoonNASA
  • Halloween this year will occur on the same night as the Full Blue Moon for the first time since the second world war.
  • Even though the Full Blue Moon is supposed to fall on the same day every 19 years, the lunar cycle shifted after 1944, so that it fell on November 1 instead of October 31.
  • This is the first time in 76 years and the Full Blue Moon will fall on October 31 yet again.
Pop culture may make it seem like every Halloween is a Full Moon with werewolves jumping out of the shadows. However, that isn’t usually the case — except for this year. In 2020, for the first time since World War II, a Full Blue Moon will grace the night sky on the eve of Halloween.

This is the second Full Moon to show up in October — the first time being the Harvest Full Moon on October 1.

The Full Blue Moon haunting of Halloween returns after 76 years — and here's why it was silent since World War II
The two Full Moons in OctoberNASA

October has 31 days and the average time between Full Moons in 29.5 days so a Full Blue Moon is technically supposed to occur on the same date every 19 years.
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However, since 1944 the cycle had shifted and the Full Blue Moon was occurring on November 1 in some of the world, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Now that the difference has caught up, for the first time in 76 years, Halloween will fall on the same night as the Blue Moon again simultaneously across the world.

What is Halloween?
Halloween wasn’t always Halloween. The origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain — a civilisation that lived nearly 2,000 years ago — during which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off the spirits.

It was only in the eighth century that Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day, and the evening before — October 31 — was dubbed All Hallows Eve.
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Modern-day activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, or setting up haunted houses only came into the picture much later.

Even though Halloween in 1963, 1982 and 2001 did not have a Full Blue Moon — the one in 2039, 2058, 2077, and 2096 will be luckier as per the 19-year pattern.

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