Cold Moon 2023: the Full Moon in December

~4 min

The last Full Moon of the year is about to climb the sky. Find out when the December Moon appears in full brightness and what it is traditionally called.


What time is the Full Moon in December 2023?

Our natural satellite will reach the Full Moon phase on December 27, 2023, at 00:33 GMT (December 26, 7:33 p.m. EST). The Moon will be located in the constellation Auriga. This Full Moon will be the first after the December solstice, which makes it the first Full Moon of the new astronomical season. Also, it will occur during Christmastime.

Moon phases for December 2023

  • Last Quarter: December 5, 05:49 GMT (12:49 a.m. EST);
  • New Moon: December 12, 23:32 GMT (6:32 p.m. EST);
  • First Quarter: December 19, 18:39 GMT (1:39 p.m. EST);
  • Full Moon: December 27, 00:33 GMT (December 26, 7:33 p.m. EST).

Visit the new Moon Phases section on our website. There, you can check out the monthly lunar calendar and find out the Moon phase for any specific day, as well as the moonrise and moonset times.

What time does the Full Moon rise?

The Full Moon will rise at sunset and stay in the sky all night until the morning. To find out the exact moonrise time for your location, check our Moon Calendar section, or use a stargazing app like Star Walk 2 or Sky Tonight.

In Star Walk 2:

  • Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner of the main screen and tap “Sky Live” to open the corresponding window.
  • In the upper right corner, tap the date stamp and change the date to December 27, 2023.
  • On the screen, you’ll see the exact timings when the Moon and other sky objects rise and set for your location.

In Sky Tonight:

  • Tap the calendar icon at the bottom of the main screen.
  • Tap the tab “Moon” at the top of the screen.
  • Tap on December 27.
  • You’ll see the moonrise and moonset times along with other useful information.

How long does a Full Moon last?

Astronomically speaking, the Full Moon is the exact moment when the Moon reaches opposition to the Sun in the sky. But for the observers, the lunar disk will appear full and bright for one day before and after it. The December Full Moon is also the closest to the solstice. At this time of the year, the Northern Hemisphere experiences long winter nights, which give observers from that part of the world even more time to enjoy the Full Moon.

What is the December Full Moon 2023 name?

The most common traditional name for the Full Moon in December is Cold Moon. To learn more folklore names for every Full Moon in a year, take a look at our Full Moon calendar.

Full Moons 2023
When is the next Full Moon in 2023? When is the Super Blue Moon this year? Check our Full Moon calendar for all dates, times, names, Supermoons, and more for the year.
See Infographic

What is a Cold Moon?

The name Cold Moon originates from Mohawk Native American culture and implies that the temperatures drop significantly at that time. American Indian tribes associated the name of the Full Moon with the entire month until the next Full Moon, so the Mohawk name also means “time of the cold.”

December Full Moon Alternative Names

In the Northern Hemisphere, the December Full Moon is the closest to the winter solstice that marks the longest night of the year. That’s why another popular name for it is Long Night Moon. The winter solstice was celebrated as the Yule festival in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, so one more Full Moon’s name is the Moon Before Yule.

In the Southern Hemisphere, December is a warm month, and the traditional Full Moon’s names were connected to the summer season, like Strawberry Moon.

Here are some more examples of the December Full Moon names in different cultures:

  • Chinese: Bitter Moon
  • English Medieval: Oak Moon
  • Cherokee: Snow Moon
  • Colonial American: Christmas Moon
  • Southern Hemisphere: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon

Christmas Moon 2023

In some sources, the upcoming December Full Moon is also referred to as the Christmas Moon, which is not entirely true. Technically, a Christmas Moon is a Full Moon that coincides with Christmas Day (December 25). It happens about every 19 years: the last Christmas Moon was in 2015, and the next one is expected in 2034. However, the December Full Moon 2023 still falls during Christmastime, and the bright lunar disc will be in the sky on the holiday night.

When is the next Cold Moon?

In 2023, the Cold Moon will occur on December 27, 2023, at 00:33 GMT (December 26, 7:33 p.m. EST). After that, the next Cold Moon will occur on December 15, 2024, at 09:02 GMT (4:02 a.m. EST).

When is the next Full Moon after the Cold Moon 2023?

The next Full Moon will already be in the year 2024. It will occur on January 25, at 17:54 GMT (12:54 p.m. EST). The traditional January Full Moon name is Wolf Moon.

Full Moon in December 2023: key facts

The last Full Moon of the year 2023 will be on December 27. It’s traditionally called the Cold Moon because of the harsh weather in December in the Northern Hemisphere. Don’t miss one of the last celestial shows in 2023, and follow us on social media to keep abreast of the exciting astronomical events that will occur in 2024.

We wish you clear skies and successful observations!