The town of Durham, New Hampshire said Monday it is still planning to replace the community’s traditional holiday celebration with “Frost Fest” despite complaints from disgruntled residents, some of whom have sent offensive messages to town councilors.
The new celebration, planned for December 7, will scrap the formal tree lighting and Santa appearance but will include wreaths on light posts, although this year may be their last.
“There was some talk about replacing the wreaths with stars. I believe wreaths are more secular than stars, stars are symbols directly related to the religious side of Christmas. Wreaths come from the pagan tradition,” Durham resident Daniel Day remarked.
Durham’s town councilors have meanwhile received a slew of hateful emails and social media posts and have even been yelled at over their decision to eliminate the Christian aspects of the town’s holiday celebration in the interest of being more inclusive. Some of the messages charged the local government officials of being elitist and attempting to uproot every reminder of Christmas in the celebration.
“Humbug to you, Durham. Who let the Grinch in?” Dover resident Dan Hurley wrote in a social media message to the town.
“I apologize, I guess, on behalf of humanity for the nastiness on social media that you’ve had to experience,” one town resident said.
Last year, Durham town officials came under fire for denying the local Chabad Jewish organization’s request to display a 10-foot-tall menorah next to the tree at a local park the town decorates annually. The officials cited vandalism concerns and said they were not “comfortable” allowing the menorah to remain up for the eight nights of Hanukkah.
The newspaper Foster’s Daily Democrat advised residents in an editorial to attend “Frost Fest” and “see if you feel you and your family’s good time is diminished in any way from years past.”
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