It Happens Once in a Blue Moon

Have you ever responded to a question with, “once in a blue moon“, or thought, I haven’t done that in a blue moon?

I think many of us have and of course, we mean it generally as a colourful way of saying, I haven’t seen you in a while, or, it’s been ages since we talked.

Blue moon

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

Like a lot of older sayings, “a watched pot never boils” springs to mind, the passage of time and technology have changed the significance, or at the very least, the impact, of these longtime favourite sayings.  And let’s be honest, a pot of water over an open campfire can indeed seem to take an eternity to boil when compared to the speed and convenience of today’s modern appliances.  

But, did you ever wonder at the origin of these odd sayings? I have, because I am just naturally super curious about these things, just ask my family…it sometimes “drives them to distraction”…wait lol…there’s another one! Anyway, I had to do a little research on the old time saying of “once in a blue moon” and I hope you may be interested in learning a bit more about this natural phenomenon too.

Blue moon

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

According to Philip Hiscock, a professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, who has traced the history of the phrase, the use of the term “blue moon” first appeared in writing in the 16th century.  Its original meaning was a reference to something that was an “impossibility”. That evolved over the years to “never” and then to “in a long time” as we use it today.

No one seems to know for sure why the phrase “blue moon” became associated with lunar events, but we do know where it happened, at least in print. The Farmers Almanac in the state of Maine first used the term to refer to the third of four full moons in any one season as a blue moon. Typically, seasons have three full moons, one per month.

So, I know you’re thinking, what exactly is a blue moon and how rare are they?

Blue moons as we know them today are the second full moon in any one calendar month. Blue moons really aren’t all that rare as they occur every few years and can actually happen within months of each other when the lunar cycle, (29.5 days) occurs at the beginning of any month, but February.

Blue moons, like other celestial events, have not escaped human attention and much lore has been associated with the occurrence.

  • Inuits believed the blue moon was a result of the moon missing a kiss from the morning sun.
  • Some cultures believe it is unwise for young girls to stare at a blue moon as they might become pregnant by the moon and give birth to a monster.
  • A much more pleasant belief is that it’s good to pick flowers and berries during a blue moon as it will bring abundance, love, and beauty into your life.

Personally, I prefer the latter.

Blue moon

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash


So why am I writing about “blue moons”? 

Well, before you all think I’m losing it completely, I would like to point out, on Wednesday, January 31st, we will experience a blue moon.

I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen one in, well, …a “blue moon”!



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