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Here's why Halloween isn't widely celebrated in India

ANI | Updated: Oct 29, 2019 18:03 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 29 (ANI): Over the years, Indians have begun celebrating a wide variety of festivals cutting across religious lines.
Starting from the New Year's Eve, to Valentine's Day, such occasions have garnered special attention which was once considered alien in India.
But among all these, Halloween, despite becoming widely known through television and social media, has not been able to make a place in the hearts of Indians.
Stemming from the ancient practice of the Celtics over 2000 years ago, Halloween was a pagan festival which believed that the doors between the living and the dead open up during this time of the year.
In India, the Hindus observe traditional ceremonies such as Pitru Paksh where they pray for the dead. Indian practices include elaborate rituals and worship done to appease the souls of our ancestors.
"Age-old practices like Pitru Paksh include customs like 'Pind Daan' which involves our families and elders etc. In India, festival celebrations are bright, colourful and cheery," said social scientist and lifestyle coach Akshar.
"Habituated to these patterns of merry-making, with the elders' consent, the Indians have not been able to completely adopt the dreary and spooky costumes which are trademarks of Halloween," explained Akshar.
However, over a period of time, the religious observances got diminished, only to be replaced by a recreational outlook towards Halloween.
"Most of us in India treat Halloween suspiciously, disapproving of both the costumes it entail and its dark theme. Owing to a lack of strong reason, and its subsequent disconnect from the Indian audience, Halloween is not able to gain any momentum as a celebratory occasion," said a member of Arya Samaj.
"Halloween remains a whimsical excuse for a costume party with no solid grounds for gaining popularity as a festival to celebrate among the Indian audience," he asserted.
People in India have always lived in a religiously mixed community - around Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. However, in the context of Halloween, the historic reference and the stigma it carries around ghosts, is perceived as a bad omen.
Therefore, Indians will not want to believe that there is a day when ghosts and spirits walk free with them.
Celebrating Halloween from a cultural context has hence not gained popularity in the society and also among "Indian corporates to an extent", said Ajinkya Bhasme, Senior HR Manager at United Phosphorus Limited, an Indian MNC.
"In the context of Indian multinationals, a lot is heavily reliant on the cultural context and interpretation of the business globally. Even the HR relies heavily on social psychology that can impact good business. With regard to the same, we promote celebrations of major festivals globally to emphasise on inclusion of everyone," explained Bhasme.
"But when it comes to Halloween, Indian society refrains from talking about ghosts, spirits, jinns, etc. with a belief that talking about such things may bring bad luck. That's why observing Halloween as a festival has not been accepted by the people and the Indian corporates to an extent," said Bhasme.
From a solely corporate point of view, when majority of Indian companies have only now started to accept the concept of dressing down "or as we call them 'business casual days', asking them to celebrate a festival which revolves around wearing costumes is at this moment impractical," he explained. (ANI)