Keep the rightful term Holiday Tree and The Holiday Tree Lighting in Kearny NJ
This petition had 113 supporters
Update: Hi everyone,
Three things to note:
1) The law is on our side in that it is illegal for a town hall to prominently feature or endorse one religion over another. No matter how many signatures the other side gets, the Town Hall's "Holiday Tree" will never be called a "Christmas Tree". See here:
2) No one is trying to tell anyone what they can or cannot call this tree when it's in your home or as it relates to your religion. The issue at hand here is the difference between what a tree is called when it's on municipal land vs. in your home. In your home? "Christmas Tree" is fine. On municipal land? "Holiday Tree" it is. If you see the Salon link above, you'll see that the tree is considered to be a secular symbol by the government.
3) In Kearny, NJ, there is a manger and a menorah on the front lawn of the Town Hall. The tree is a permanent part of the Town Hall's landscaping and cannot be removed. The event is called the "Holiday Tree Lighting" which is what it should remain. Residents can call that tree anything they want but the town has to call it a "Holiday Tree" in advertisements for the event.
This petition was created in response to another one (https://www.change.org/p/mayor-alberto-santos-and-council-please-reinstate-the-rightful-term-christmas-tree-and-the-christmas-tree-lighting-kearny-nj I was raised Catholic but am non-practicing. In our town, there is always a low level of bigotry expressed on our town's FB pages and during this time of year, the "War on Christmas" starts too. I want to continue to honor our town's diversity, not only the wishes of a vocal, self-serving few. I created this petition in the car on the way to Thanksgiving dinner so it was quick and used the same language as their petition with a history of the Holiday Tree attached.
If I get enough signatures, I'd love to take this to the Town Hall and present it to our Mayor. This is part civil disobedience, part serious, part humorous. Please sign and pass along!
Pagan Origins of the Holiday Tree (from http://www.christmastreehistory.net/pagan)
"Dating back centuries before Christ, cultures brought evergreen trees, plants, and leaves into their homes upon the arrival of the winter solstice, which occurs in the northern hemisphere between December 21st and 22nd. Although the specific practices were different in each country and culture, the symbolization was generally the same: to celebrate the return of life at the beginning of winter's decline.
Egyptians particularly valued evergreens as a symbol of life's victory over death. They brought green date palm leaves into their homes around the time of the winter solstice.
Romans had a public festival called Saturnalia, which lasted one week beginning on December 17th, and included a variety of celebrations around the winter solstice. Curiously, the Roman winter solstice was marked on December 25th on the Julian calendar. These celebrations are thought to have merged with pagan practices of hanging mistletoe and the burning of the Yule log.
In Britain, the Yule log was originally seen as a magical amulet, and eventually made it into the hand's of Father Christmas. In Italy the Yule log is still burned for the "Festa di Ceppo". In Catalonia, the log is wrapped in a blanket until Christmas Eve, when it's unwrapped and burned for the custom of "fer cagar el tio". And in Serbia, families bring the Yule log (known as a "badnjak") into their homes on Christmas Eve to be burned along with prayers to God to bring happiness, luck, and riches.
Druid priests in Great Britain also used evergreen plants and mistletoe in pagan ceremonies, and the mistletoe plant was the symbol of the birth of a god. Celtic Druids and Norseman of Scandinavia also used mistletoe in a mysterious ceremony just after the winter solstice.
In the mid 1500's, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. This practice is likely to have gradually evolved from pagan rituals of past, and merged with the celebration of Christmas leading to the tree's Christian beginnings."
We, the diverse residents of Kearny, ask:
In the spirit of respecting all religions, this petition is to keep The Kearny, NJ "holiday tree", "The Holiday Tree Lighting Festival" and "The Annual Kearny Tree Lighting Festival".
The signatures gathered for this petition will then be presented before the Kearny Council Meeting for consideration. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.
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