Authorities in Russia’s Omsk region in Siberia have prohibited Halloween celebrations in local schools on the grounds it “promotes extremism” and a “death cult” that can harm the moral health of children.
The Education Ministry in the Omsk region sent letters to local state schools telling them to take measures to curb any events marking Halloween, which is celebrated on October 31, the eve of All Hallows’ Day.
The move is aimed at the prevention of the development of extremism among children and young people, the ministry said in a statement. The decision followed an appeal from a public organization called “Omsk Parents’ Council”.
Educational institutions must carry out activities “based on cultural values of Russian people,” believes the regional Education Minister, Sergey Alekseyev, the body quotes. He said the ministry will improve “methodological support” in the organization of students’ leisure activities. Also, plans are afoot to impose tougher controls over the planning of celebrations in schools.
The ministry cites studies by two institutes affiliated with the Russian Academy of Education, which found that celebrating Halloween has a negative impact on students as well as the teaching process. Because of “elements of mystics” and the “propaganda of death cult” in the celebrations, they can lead to “devastating consequences for the spiritual and moral health of students,” experts stated.
The ministry provides no information about the names of the authors of the research, or the title of the study, conducted by the institutes which are not among Russia’s top establishments.
“One would think what’s wrong about this pumpkin with holes? But in fact it is simply hidden Satanism,” a priest from Vladivostok, Father Tikhon told RIA Novosti. He urged everyone to hold back from Halloween, “to run away from it”.
Senior Orthodox Church official Archpriest, Vsevolod Chaplin, has also warned against joining the festivities. “Dark forces” often try to make a person believe that they do not exist and “kind of play with them”.
“But evil spirits always wins in their games. So, in reality it only seems to people that [this game] is only a fun and a harmless gag,” the cleric said. “Dark forces think otherwise and will definitely make fun’ of you so that you won’t be happy about that at all.”