Halloween and Mongolia

Happy Halloween to those who are celebrating!

We decided to teach some Mongolian Halloween words to New Yorkers. Meanwhile in Mongolia, the government decided to ban Halloween celebrations at public schools and there were some mixed reactions.

Some US expats in Mongolia are mad and offended that some Mongolians don’t like the ever growing celebration of Halloween 🎃 in Mongolia and accuse us of xenophobia 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄

We celebrate all kinds of foreign traditions like Valentines Day, kneel down to propose and wear white wedding gowns etc. But Halloween can be controversial because it’s more than just cute costumes but touches on with death, spirits and scary stuff. Traditionally, death is a taboo topic and any kind of “dark” spirit celebrations make some people, especially older generation, uneasy. We don’t even utter the names of our deceased and avoid talking about them. Halloween in US is just a commercial costume event plus season to consume horror content unlike the remembering of the deceased family in Mexico. Ok, it is also a fun family bonding time too.

I love horror movies (yes, I just finished watching “The Haunting of Hill House“) and it was fun for me to learn about Halloween and caramelized apples while learning English. However, it’s different for my parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Not all of us have to like it. Please stop accusing us of xenophobia every single time we don’t celebrate foreign traditions. We have the right to be uneasy and uncomfortable with taboo topics of our culture. That obviously doesn’t mean that people should be unkind to those who are celebrating. It’s ok NOT to make Halloween a public school event. Not every parent wants to deal with additional costs and hassle of buying and making costumes.

So please respect our resistance. Not all of us have to adopt every single foreign celebration in the name of tolerance and globalization. Unlike Naadam, this is not our traditional holiday that is celebrated nationwide. 

On the other hand, there is no shortage of private Halloween parties with adults as well tiny trick-o-treaters at your apartment door in Mongolia. Some are choosing to give away traditional dairy snack Aaruul instead of candies. I think that’s a pretty great option. We wish good luck to all the teachers and pediatric dentists on Nov 1.

Let us know what you think below. Do you celebrate Halloween extensively in your country?

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