Moon Lore: “Show The New Moon The Dime”

G. F. Jackson
3 min readOct 16, 2020


Yesterday, after dinner, my Dad and I sat on the patio to admire the evening sky.

After a bit of a lull in our conversation, we noticed a lone bright star hovering above the trees.

Almost immediately, the silvery orb triggered memories of my grandfather who referred to the first star of the night as “the evening star.”

Of course, those who study astronomy might argue something different and I would soon learn that lesson.

At any rate, after commenting on the star’s brilliance, I asked my Dad if he could remember any family lore related to the night sky.

Now, before I proceed, let me warn you that my Dad never gives a complete answer to anything the first go ‘round; he always requires additional prompting.

I’ll prove my point with the following illustration:

Me: “Daddy, do you remember any family superstitions or stories related to the night sky?”

Dad: “Not really”

Me: “Do you remember your grandparents saying anything about the sky?”

Dad: “Naw, not off hand”

Me: “Grandma use to say that it’s bad luck to point at the moon.”

Dad: “ Oh yeah, I remember…”


I often joke that getting information from my Dad is like trying to access his personal history “cloud.”

Try as you may, you aren’t going to get any information until you “type the correct password.”

Once you do that, the information downloads — uninhibited.

Anyway, Dad told a story about my grandfather kissing a dime and holding it up to the “new moon” to ensure that he would have enough money to pay his bills for the month.

He referred to this ritual as “showing the new moon the dime.”

Dad clarified that this action requires a dime — there’s no substituting equivalent combinations of nickels and pennies.

Now comes the lesson on astronomy versus conventional wisdom.

Science says that you can’t see the new moon; its view is completely occluded.

Flat out, how do you show the new moon the dime when you can’t see it?

With this in mind, to me, Granddaddy’s practice didn’t make much sense.

So, I told my Dad.

Note: My Dad is a voracious reader of all things related to any realm of science so he understood my point.

And thus began the lesson.

Dad advised that when talking about the new moon, old Southerners, like my Grandfather, were actually referring to the tiniest crescent moon that appears after the official new moon.

Aha! That makes perfect sense!

Never assume that conventional wisdom automatically aligns with science!

Thus ended the lesson.

So, the next time you see a silver sliver of crescent moon on a crisp fall evening, take out a dime, kiss it and show it to the new moon in honor of my Daddy and Granddaddy!

If you use a different form of currency, try a single silver equivalent.

Either way, let me know if it works for you.

May you be blessed with overflowing coffers!



G. F. Jackson

Storyteller/Podcaster | The Southern Witching Hour Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, iHeart Radio, Pandora | Lover of Southern Storytelling and Folklore