Mongolia has banned the celebration of Halloween in schools this year, reflecting growing fears that the landlocked country’s rapid economic transformation is eroding its native Buddhist traditions.
In a directive sent to all schools last week, the education ministry said parents had complained in the past about their children trying to collect money and asking for Halloween costumes.
Stressing that Halloween was not an officially recognised holiday, it ordered all schools to put a stop to organised celebrations this year.
Halloween has become increasingly popular in the capital Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia has undergone a rapid transformation since its Moscow-backed Communist regime collapsed in 1990, with a succession of governments trying to modernise the economy and open up to foreign investment.
But the rapid pace of change has stoked concerns that its nomadic and Buddhist culture is being left behind.
Halloween celebrations are still expected to continue in Ulaanbaatar, home to nearly half of Mongolia’s population of three million.