Costco Canada removes objectionable ‘Yoga’ Halloween articles

11th October 2022 – Well, it is that time of the year when one can easily find unique display Halloween articles in several stores across Canada. However, ‘Yoga’ posed Halloween articles selling at Costco Canada are something new and are not going well with the Hindu community.

It was a regular shopping day for a couple of residents of Durham region, who are members of Coalition of Hindu Heritage Education (COHHE), at Costco Ajax location where they saw few ‘Yoga’ articles on display for the upcoming Halloween. The matter was brought in attention to the Costco staff at the location and requested those articles to be removed immediately.

Hindu Times Canada spoke to the residents and COHHE spokesperson about this incident.

HTC: What did you do when you first saw those articles?
COHHE: Frankly, we found it awful the moment we saw that. Obviously, we were shocked to see that. We immediately reached out to the staff available and asked them the reason for displaying such articles.

HTC: Why did you think that this is in-appropriate and hurtful to Hindus?
COHHE: Yoga has a very deep meaning in spiritual science. It has been an integral part of Hinduism and other Dharmic religions including Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for thousands of years. We associate Yoga not just with the asanas (physical body positions) but it is much more than that. Somehow, in the West, Yoga has been diluted only to certain physical activities. Yoga is neither a Halloween trick, nor something that can scare people. So, when we saw those articles at the store, we thought of it as cultural appropriation.

HTC: What was the reaction of the staff and management at Costco?
COHHE: They took the complaint very seriously and within few hours we received calls from the Costco management to understand our point of view. They were very supportive and prompt with their response.

HTC: So, has the issue been resolved?
COHHE: We were informed over the phone that Costco Ajax has taken off the articles from the shelves and those will no longer be available for sale to the customers. They also assured that they will be escalating our concerns to their Marketing, Category Management and Executive Teams. We are hopeful that Costco will be able to respect Hindu sentiments and stop promoting and selling any items that might be offensive.
We at COHHE do see some gaps in people’s awareness and knowledge about Hindu Heritage. In absence of the right learning resources, our Canadian Hindu diaspora can knowingly or unknowingly be a victim of Hinduphobia or bias against them. We at Coalition of Hindu Heritage Education (COHHE) are committed to spread awareness and take Hindu Heritage Education to the next level.

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