Russia: Halloween 'banned in schools'

A pumpkin carved with a sad face

Celebrating Halloween is banned in some Russian schools because it "breeds extremism", it's reported.

The Omsk education ministry has ordered headmasters in the south-western Siberian region to prevent any attempts to hold Halloween events at their schools, says the Russian government's official daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Any such events are not based on the "fundamental values contained in the culture of the peoples of Russia" and could lead to a rise in "extremist sentiment among children and young people", a ministry directive sent to schools reportedly states.

Members of the Russian Orthodox clergy are also known to object to Halloween. "It only seems to be a harmless and funny joke," warns Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin. "But the dark forces think otherwise: they'll play a joke on you, and you won't enjoy it at all." It's not the first festival to be branded un-Christian in Russia. In July 2013, Neptune Day - a popular sea and riverside festival among Russian children - was reportedly cancelled in south-western Voronezh region following complaints from a local priest.

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