May: Frost Moon

By May most regions in South Africa that experience frost are experiencing it to a greater or lesser degree. Some, in fact, have frost as early as April and even March.

The first frost of the year covering lawns in ice crystals, icing up motor car windshields and putting a layer of ice crystals on fence posts, farm gates and anything else left outside overnight, is a definite sign that winter has arrived.

Frost is simply dew that freezes when the ambient temperature drops below freezing point for long enough to freeze the water droplets. Frost in the morning is a sure sign that summer is long gone, autumn has also left, and winter has the country in its chilly grip.

Winter was a time of hunger and privation for the pre-colonial South Africans, especially for the hunter-gatherers. The herd boys in high lying areas were, and still are, especially exposed to the harsh winter conditions. Many impoverished South Africans in rural areas also experience severe privation during winter. Frost is definitely not pretty and fun for everyone.

Late frosts in a lingering winter that won’t give way to spring can be catastrophic for farmers. Late frost kills seedlings and blossoms on fruit trees seriously reducing agricultural production.

The second Full Moon in May is the Fire Moon.


Date of Frost Moon (2020–2050)

2020 May 07, 12:48
2021 May 26, 13:18
2022 May 16, 06:12
2023 May 05, 19:36
2024 May 23, 15:54
2025 May 12, 19:00
2026 May 01, 19:30
2027 May 20, 13:00
2028 May 08, 21:54
2029 May 27, 20:42
2030 May 17, 13:18
2031 May 07, 05:36
2032 May 25, 04:36
2033 May 14, 12:42
2034 May 03, 14:18
2035 May 22, 06:24

2036 May 10, 10:12
2037 May 29, 06:30
2038 May 18, 20:24
2039 May 08, 13:18
2040 May 26, 13:48
2041 May 16, 02:54
2042 May 05, 08:48
2043 May 23, 01:36
2044 May 12, 02:18
2045 May 01, 08:00
2046 May 20, 05:18
2047 May 09, 20:24
2048 May 27, 20:54
2049 May 17, 13:12
2050 May 06, 00:24


During May, we also celebrate International Museum Day (May 18) and International Towel Day (May 25).



Heritage Full Moons in South Africa

MonthFirst Full MoonSecond Full Moon
JanuaryMantis MoonLeopard Moon
FebruaryDassie Moon——
MarchHarvest MoonOchre Moon
AprilDiamond MoonGold Moon
MayFrost MoonFire Moon
JuneSisters MoonHoney Moon
JulyMeerkat MoonProtea Moon
AugustPeace MoonDusty Moon
SeptemberSpring MoonBlue Crane Moon
OctoberWhale MoonElephant Moon
NovemberMilk MoonWool Moon
DecemberSpringbok MoonEland Moon

Protecting South Africa’s astronomical heritage