Wednesday 20 November 2019

Town scales back Christmas celebration to avoid offending one citizen

A Durham, New Hampshire, town celebration will no longer feature a Christmas tree lighting to avoid any "religious overtones," according to WBZ-TV.

What are the details?

The annual Christmas event, formerly called the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, will be called the "Frost Fest" instead.
Santa Claus formerly appeared at the event in a firetruck, but he will no longer be arriving in the city truck and will simply attend this year.
The town has also nixed the hanging of wreaths on Main Street's lampposts.
Sally Tobias, town councilor, told the station that a "private citizen" came forward after 2018's celebration and complained about the event.
"There was another private citizen that came forward and said that he always had a problem with the Christmas tree, as he called it," she said. "There were a couple of people that did express some concerns about how they felt being included."
Tobias added that she and the rest of the council is welcome to receiving further feedback.
"I will state that trees and Santas and wreaths are not Christian," Tobias said, "And we would like to hear back from the community. We'd like to hear what they think about it, how they would like to see it evolve a little differently and how we can make it better."

What else?

Rabbi Berel Slavaticki of the University of New Hampshire and Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center told the station that removing such traditions are "un-American."
“To stop cultures and faiths from practicing publicly would be very un-American. I think that's the beauty of our country," said Slavaticki, who revealed that he asked the town to display a Menorah during 2018's Hanukkah celebration. The request was reportedly denied.
“The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that the Menorah and the Christmas tree both represent the holiday winter season," Slavaticki reasoned.

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