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Some Schools Cancel Halloween Celebrations

A school district in Connecticut recently made a decision that may be familiar to districts across the country: it disallowed Halloween celebrations in the classroom.

The Hartford Courant recently reported on the Newington school administrators’ decision to cancel festivities involving the October holiday.

The reasons for rejecting Halloween celebrations vary. Many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians see Halloween as an occult celebration, while Jewish law prohibiting celebration of "Gentile" holidays has led some Orthodox members of the faith to shun it as well. Jehovah's Witnesses also forbid members from celebrating Halloween, but many faiths, such as Mormonism, Hinduism (which has its own fall holiday, Diwali), and Buddhism leave it up to individual members to decide whether they want to celebrate Halloween.

Schools across the country have made conscious decisions either allow traditions to continue or to stop recognizing certain holidays, including Christmas. Some schools will recognize the holiday with either candy or lessons but not allow dress up. While many consider the holiday to be secular some do believe the the holiday is religious.

"Just the very term, Halloween, is 'All Hallow's Eve,' the night before All Saint's Day," on the Catholic liturgical calendar, said Benjamin Peters, assistant professor in the department of religious studies and theology at the University of St. Joseph.

"My understanding is that its roots have been very Christian, or at least that's where the celebration comes from," Peters said.

But "different Christians see this in different ways," Peters said, with many evangelical groups rejecting it as a Catholic invention not mentioned in the Bible, similar to Mardi Gras, which is a chance to "sort of get all your decadence out of your system" before the fasting of Lent.

Read the full story.

Related article:
New Jersey School Cancels, Then Reinstates Halloween Celebration Over Alleged Pagan Origins


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