At the beginning of October, Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin tweaked the name of Charleston’s annual Christmas parade to something a bit more inclusive, the Winter Parade.
She said the name was initially changed to show that Charleston is an inclusive and welcoming city with the desire to include everyone. However, once citizens around the area caught word of the change, debate and backlash began to surface.
Complaints about taking Christmas out of the holidays or something equally as ridiculous began to surface, causing the city to revert the parade’s name back to Christmas Parade. The reason for the change back to the original name was said to be partly from the feedback it received, and partly because the city wanted to keep the history and tradition of the parade for years to come. Yet, the changing of the day from a Saturday morning to a Thursday evening didn’t receive the same amount of controversy the change of name did. Obviously, to the people up in arms about the Winter Parade, “tradition” wasn’t their main issue.
The name change was never about Christmas itself. The intent was not to “take Christmas away” or exclude people who celebrate it; the intent was to try to further include those who don’t. The name change gave a small voice to people of different affiliations for just a moment, a small step for them.
To some, the name change wasn’t a big deal. It’s just a name, the parade itself will still happen and be as magical as every year before. However, to these people who’ve been quieted every holiday season by the same people freaking out about the name change, it is a big deal.
Finally, they are getting a small inch of an effort to be included — The Winter Parade. No hints of a different religion or culture, but all of them tied up in a nice little bow for everyone together, a sense of togetherness that should accompany every holiday season. While it was only something small, the simple exchange of a word, it was a big step toward that togetherness.
Then suddenly, it wasn’t. Backlash surfaced. Complaints about “snowflakes” ruining Christmas or how people who don’t celebrate the holiday need to get over and deal with it echoed across the halls of workplaces and swam through comment sections. Loud talk about how the choice was excluding Christmas celebrators turn the excited voices of others back into their quiet whispers they have every holiday season. After finally having an inch of inclusivity, a small decibel louder of a voice, people of other religions and cultures had it ripped away from them. Back to the past, back to the way it’s been for far too many years. The Christmas Parade. The tradition of shoving others aside continues with keeping the “tradition and history” of the Christmas parade.
Not every aspect of a tradition is necessary be dragged along in order to keep said tradition going. The tradition itself is having the parade every December, the name is unneeded to carry that to the future. Changing the name to say Winter instead of Christmas doesn’t change the happiness the parade brings to everyone who attends. It doesn’t exclude previous attendees. Changing the name doesn’t change the magic, it only helps spread that magic further.