Tonight marks the annual rise of the strawberry moon, a phase of the moon that will occur at precisely 9:10 p.m. Eastern time. Why is it called the “strawberry moon”? There’s a reason behind the name that has its roots in Native American culture.

The strawberry moon is a full moon, but it’s not like other ones you may have seen. During this phase, the moon will appear 14 percent smaller than usual. This year’s full moon will be the smallest moon of 2017, and it is sometimes known as a “mini moon.” This is the reverse of a “supermoon,” that you may have heard about, where it appears larger than usual, and it occurs because the moon is at its farthest point in orbit, away from the earth.

Why It’s Called the Strawberry Moon

The Algonquin tribes used to use the moon as a sign to start gathering ripening fruit, like strawberries. This is a diverse group of tribes that covered the continent as far as California.

The moon appears in the same month as the summer solstice, set to take place on June 21 in the northern hemisphere. The longest day of the year, it’s the point at which the sun reaches its highest altitude and has also served as a focal point for multiple rituals and celebrations.

Strawberry moon

Not everyone calls it the strawberry moon. In Europe, it was more traditionally known as the full rose moon. Some cultures also refer to it as the honey moon. This is because sometimes its amber color will give it a yellow glow in the sky.

The full strawberry moon is also said to bring good weather. If it does not in the first three days change from the wax to the wane after the full moon, this is believed to be a sign of good days ahead.

Find out more about the strawberry moon here:

Photos via Flickr / cogdogblog