Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Village Renamed to Holiday Village

In Philadelphia, a private organization has had a "German Christmas Village" display for the last few years. It is a walk-in display, with booths and vendors inside. If you look at the link below you can see a press photo of the sign above the entrance. The word "Christmas" is being removed. It will be replaced with the word "Holiday" instead.

This is not a Constitutional issue, nor is it a political issue. At least, in this case, no one has sued as far as I know. But instead I sense it is an issue of political correctness. While the city of Philadelphia is listed as a partner in this display, which is actually run by a commercial company, the motivation to change the name does not come from the city.

What is wrong with naming it a German Christmas Village? Loudspeakers at the venue will be playing Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song." There will be nativity scenes and more secular Christmas object for sale inside. The Germans in America throughout our history have observed Christmas. According to the Library of Congress, "The Germanic custom of having a specially decorated tree at Christmas time was introduced to America by Pennsylvania Dutch in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Later in the century, the Pennsylvania Dutch version of St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, evolved into America's Santa Claus, popularized by a German immigrant and influential political cartoonist, Thomas Nast. The Easter bunny and Easter eggs were also brought to this country by German immigrants." (The drawing by Nast is shown to the left.)

The image shown to the right of this paragraph is available from the Library of Congress' shop as a print. It is described: "The Christmas coach 1795 / J.L.G. Ferris. View of coach on High (Market) Street at Second, Philadelphia, on Christmas Eve, with woman getting off, in front of the old courthouse."

The first calls for national public days of fasting and prayer came from our Continental Congress in Philadelphia. That congress opened its sessions with prayer, and signed many official documents with "In the year of our Lord..."

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