There are many myths and old wives’ tales that surround the full moon. Visions of werewolves, hectic emergency rooms, and strange behaviors may come to mind. Have one fall on Friday the 13th, like yesterday, and the stories will probably get even crazier. But is there any truth to the tales?
The Full Moon and Labor
Tell anyone in the medical industry that a full moon is coming and you’ll likely get the same response: “It’s going to be a full emergency room tonight or the labor and delivery floor is going to be busy.” Does the same hold true with animals? According to my grandfather, it did. Ask him when he thought a cow was going to calve and he would always say, “Well when is the full moon?” And often, he was right.
Apparently, it’s not just an old timer’s trick either. In 2016, a group of researchers at the University of Tokyo, studied a group of 400 Holstein cows. They reviewed records of full-term births over a three-year period and found, that in fact, there was a calving boom during the near full and full moon.
Furthermore, they found that predicted due dates and actual delivery dates differed significantly through the 8 moon phases. Cows with predicted delivery dates before the first- quarter moon tended to deliver later than expected, whereas cows with delivery dates that fell during the full moon to the last-quarter phase tended to deliver on schedule. (You can read more about this study here.)
Gardening by the Moon
Many people also swear by gardening and crop production by the phases of the moon. Moon phase gardening is an idea that has been around as long as agriculture itself. The theory behind this method is that the water in the ground and in plants, much like the ocean tides, are affected by the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon. Like the tides are highest during the new and full moon phases, it is thought that seeds will also absorb the most water during these times.
Moon phase gardening considers four phases that last about 7 days each. It is believed certain gardening activities or certain plants will be more productive if planted during a particular phase. Those following this ancient growing method will even look at the Moon’s place in the Zodiac; that each sign confers certain growing conditions.
Curious about planting by the moon? Check out the Plant by the Moon Calendar from The Farmers’ Almanac. The planting calendar can help you pick the best dates for planting seeds, pruning, harvesting, and more, all based on the phases and position of the Moon.
So, what do you think? Are the so-called effects of the full moon legit or just coincidence? I don’t know about everyone else, but I am going to be anxiously preparing and awaiting for a calf or two this weekend…