Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

New Year's eve will present us with a blue moon. I had no idea until my husband and daughter started talking about it tonight at the dinner table. A blue moon is the 13th full moon in one calendar year - or the second full moon in a calendar month. It only occurs "once in a blue moon." I say that, not to be funny, but to illustrate the way an idiomatic expression can become part of our normal understanding without us knowing its origin. Everyone knows that "once in a blue moon" indicates a rare event. I have often used that expression but had no idea why it had that meaning. So around the dinner table, the light bulb turned on and I will use this expression from now on with a much deeper appreciation for its origin. BTW, I did go to Wikipedia to verify the meaning.

But back to the blue only occurs about once every 2.7 years, but a blue moon on New Year's Eve is even rarer, only occurring about every 20 years. So we're in for a treat. What a fun way to usher in the year 2010!

Just curious...did you already know where this expression came from?


  1. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

  2. I wonder now, why they call it blue. It didn't look blue.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Hi Morgan,

    Here is the link to the wikipedia post about the blue moon. It appears to me that the usage of the term "blue" in blue moon evolved through changes from old English to it's present form. Wikipedia mentions that it was called a "belewe" or betrayer moon. There are some other ideas about how it came to be called the blue moon, but this seems to me to be the most plausible explanation.

  4. Whoops! Forgot to include the link -

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