Christmas for many of us is a beloved, treasured holiday where we exchange gifts with friends and spend time with our family and loved ones, often over a tradition of meals and gatherings. However, in North Korea, this just isn’t done. North Korea is probably the most dangerous country in the world for practicing Christians, and religious persecution in the country makes our beloved holiday very dangerous indeed. Through thinly veiled attempts at religious tolerance, all three despot leaders of the Kim dynasty have cracked down on Christianity.
The Pyongyang capital boasts several Christian churches dotted here and there, but watchdogs have claimed that this is merely a puppet display to trick foreigners. In reality, the gulag or labor camps are the fate of any genuine Christian seen in the country if they were to attend these false churches. Because of this religious persecution, the thousands of North Korean Christians must practice in secret. However, it has been said that certain incredibly brave and devout groups gather to celebrate their holiday in private away from the eyes of the Religious Police. “Christmas is mainly celebrated in the heart of the Christian. Only if the whole family has turned to Christ is it possible to have something like a real gathering,” a spokesperson said.
None of this has stopped hundreds of thousands of North Korean Christians from practicing their faith in the most hostile of environments. Christmas is most definitely a very intense time for Koreans, as even South Korea gets involved. A tower at the Korean border is regularly decorated as a Christmas tree to enrage those in North Korea. Groups perform carol services under the towers through loud speakers sending songs across the borders. However the north has called the singing “a provovative display of psychological warfare.”