For the past three years, Philadelphia's German Christmas Village has hosted festive booths and Christmas tree vendors in Dilworth Plaza located near city hall. But this year, the village's arched entrance labeled "Christmas Village" will be replaced with "Holiday Village."
According to local news reports, the request for the change came from Managing Director Richard Negrin. City spokesman Mark McDonald said Negrin made the request after the city received complaints from nearby workers and residents. "As a city of great diversity, one shouldn't be surprised that there's a difference of views when it comes to symbols and words," McDonald told the Philadelphia Daily News.
In addition, McDonald said the city is working on an official policy to address such events set up on city property in the future.
The German American Marketing Inc., the company which runs the Christmas Village every year, is reportedly happy to accommodate the city's request, but noted that brochures and posters would keep the "Christmas" title. "People have to go to public buildings. They shouldn't feel offended," the company's spokesman said. "It's been very successful the last two years. People like the name. We built it like a German Christmas market. We did not think a lot about it."
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Though the Village is clearly focused on Christmas, the Daily News adds that ornaments and decorations sold at the event are "largely of the secular variety, like elves, Santas and colored balls," interspersed by an occasional nativity scene.