Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!
Beloved and widely celebrated in the United States and some other parts of the world, Halloween and its traditions have been slow to be embraced elsewhere. Despite its growing popularity among Mongolian children, the authorities have prohibited its celebration in the country’s educational establishments through a directive sent to all schools by the Ministry of Education, Reuters writes.
“Generally, it’s all about the children’s attitude. Some may get into their roles too deeply or misuse [Halloween] and have a negative social effect. For this reason, it has been decided not to celebrate,” G. Erdenechimeg, a social worker at a school in the capital Ulaanbaatar, told Reuters.
The ban might also have its roots in fears that the adoption of such a holiday could be detrimental to the preservation of the traditionally nomadic and Buddhist Mongolian culture.
Similar arguments were wielded by Russian conservatives and religious groups that called for a ban of Halloween celebrations in their country, The Moscow Times writes. An archpriest from the Moscow region told Orthodox believers not to go “into those stinking taverns and get drunk among all those pumpkins with candles” on such a day intended for “unscrupulous and brainless people.”
Parliamentary member Vitaly Milonov echoed such views and asked for a ban, state-owned RT.com writes. “This holiday has pagan, anti-Christian roots,” Milonov said. “It’s well-known that it’s based on worshiping dark forces and Satan as well as glorifying the grim Celtic cult of death.”
Russia is not the only country in TOL’s region where such opinions can be found. Last year, Bosnia’s Republika Srpska forbade kindergartens and elementary schools in the majority-Serb and majority-Orthodox entity to celebrate the holiday, Balkan Insight writes. Traditionalist groups that successfully lobbied the Ministry of Education in favor of such a ban said that it “celebrated the pagan cult of death," and that, by using "innocent children's games," it leads young people to "sectarianism and Satanism."
A municipality in Bulgaria, a fellow Balkan and Orthodox nation, also banned the celebration of Halloween in schools, kindergartens, and cultural centers in 2017, The Sofia Globe wrote at the time. Bulgaria celebrates Day of the Enlighteners on 1 November, which honors prominent cultural figures. However, some children believed that they had a day off on that occasion because of Halloween, the mayor of the municipality said while speaking about the ban.
Transitions magazine = Your one-stop source for news, research and analysis on the post-communist region. Sign up for the free TOL newsletter!
Transitions magazine = Your one-stop source for news, research and analysis on the post-communist region.
Sign up for the free TOL newsletter!
The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes.
It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.