TITLE: St. Nicholas: Discovering the Truth about Santa Claus

ACCESS: http://www.stnicholascenter.org/

This site is the creation of the St. Nicholas Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to share stories and legends of St. Nicholas, encourage others to celebrate his feast day, and provide resources for education. The center also seeks "to help people understand and appreciate the original St. Nicholas, the only real Santa Claus." This site is divided into five main sections: "Who is St. Nicholas," "Around the World," "How to Celebrate," "Events," and "For Kids."

Sections of most interest are "Who is St. Nicholas" and "Around the World." "Who is St. Nicholas" contains a short biography as well as legends and stories that attest to his character as a "protector" and "helper to those in need." Along the left side of the page, there are additional links to information about St. Nicholas, including "Origin of Santa," which tells how St. Nicholas came to be known as Santa Claus.

"Around the World" shows how different countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day with their own customs and traditions. Twenty countries, including the United States, are represented in this section. Younger users will be interested in the "For Kids" section, which contains stories, poems, legends, pictures, games, and activities.

Researchers will want to visit "Gallery." This section offers a colorful collection of images from around the world such as frescos, icons, stained glass windows, coins, book illustrations, and ceramics that feature St. Nicholas. Searching this site can be done in one of three ways: by clicking on one of the main sections or topics, through the search box, or via the site map. Navigating around the site is fairly easy as links, a search box, and a site map are available on every page.

St. Nicholas: Discovering the Truth about Santa Claus is an up-to-date site with plans to add more content. Some of its pages, such as "St. Nicholas and the Origin of Santa Claus" list sources cited, while others such as "Who is St. Nicholas," don't. A partial bibliography of sources used to develop the site is available in the "Related Info" section.

Overall, it is a fun and easy site to visit and learn more about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus; art historians, religious studies students, and general users will find this site of interest.

Carolyn Piatz
University of Portland
piatz@up.edu


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