PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The sign that hangs above the 80 wooden booths that make up the traditional European Christmas Village on the west side of City Hall used to say “Christmas Village,” but on Tuesday morning, it was missing a word.
The sign, strung up in lights, says just “Village.”
City Managing Director Richard Negrin says workers took the word Christmas down because of complaints.
“I’ve received a number of complaints throughout the past few months and apparently over the past several years about the fact that village wasn’t more inclusive,” Negrin said. “It really is not just a Christian village, it’s more of a holiday Village.”
“I remember hearing one story in which a small Jewish child walked past the village and saw Christmas and asked his dad how come we don’t get a village?” said Negrin, who said the move to remove Christmas is about being inclusive.
Passers-by are not so sure. Daryl says he appreciates that people practice different religions, but he questions the removal of the word Christmas.
“It’s a Christmas Village. It just happens to be here at City Hall. Everything looks so nice, and now, all of the sudden we just have Village up there,” he says.
“I know there are different religions, as far as Jewish religions that believe in Hanukah and African Americans that believe in Kwanza, but they should just keep it Christmas, I mean that’s what it is,” added Les Milling.
“I think for every person you find who is offended, you’re going to have scores of people who feel like they’re included in the village now as opposed to before.”
The story of the young Jewish boy and several others, is why German American Marketing Inc. and the city has decided it would be best to design a fixture that reads “Holiday” instead of “Christmas.”
Officials say they hope to have the new holiday sign up next week. It will appear next to the word Village.
Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio and Jericka Duncan, CBS 3