Durham, New Hampshire Town Council Cancels Tree Lighting, Street Decorations after Citizen Complains that Christmas Decorations were Offensive – UPDATE
The Durham, New Hampshire town council cancelled the annual tree lighting ceremony and street decorations after a private citizen complained that the decorations were offensive.
The new winter “frost festival” will skip the tree-lighting ceremony entirely.
CBS Local reported:
A Durham, New Hampshire celebration scheduled for the beginning of holidays is undergoing some changes this year in an effort to remove religious overtones.
Formerly called the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, the newly named Frost Fest will include the absence of a formal tree lighting. Santa will be at the event but he will not arrive in a town firetruck as he has in the past.
The wreaths that traditionally adorned lamp posts on Main Street will also not be present this year.
Town Councilor Sally Tobias says the changes came about after some controversy last holiday season. “There was another private citizen that came forward and said that he had always had a problem with the Christmas tree, as he called it,” Tobias said.
After holding a public meeting, the town formed a working committee and made changes to the event.
“There were a couple of people that did express some concerns about how they felt being included,” Tobias said.
Rabbi Berel Slavaticki of the University of New Hampshire and Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center feels the changes are a move in the wrong direction.
“To stop cultures and faiths from practicing publicly would be very un-American. I think that’s the beauty of our country,” Slavaticki said.
UPDATE– A reader wrote the Durham city council and got this rude response from one of the committee members.