Saturday, November 26, 2011

Santa Claus and moon phases


Happy end-of-the-year evening and night events provide good opportunities to explain the phases of the moon. The need for such moon phase education is once again demonstrated, through an investigation of illustrations on Santa Claus and Christmas gift wrap and in children's books, in two countries which have been important in shaping the image of Santa Claus and his predecessor Sinterklaas: The Netherlands and the USA. The moon on Halloween illustrations is also considered. The lack of knowledge concerning the physical origin of the moon phases, or lack of interest in understanding, is found to be widespread in The Netherlands but is also clearly present in the USA, and is quite possibly global. Definitely incomplete, but surely representative lists compiling both scientifically correct and scientifically incorrect gift wrap and children's books are also presented.

"Santa and the moon" by Peter Barthel

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