May 25, 2024

I’m dreaming of a North Korean Christmas

Remembering the North's long-standing, oft-forgotten religious heritage this holiday season

A mountain peak with a glistening treetop-like structure, where South and North Korea come together, has sadly come to symbolize military tension rather than peace on earth. The twinkling of Christmas lights, at the confluence of the Han and Imjin Rivers, reportedly once penetrated across the DMZ to the North Korean city of Kaesong. Aegibong, the site of a fierce battle at the end of the Korean War, is named for the legendary “love mistress” who climbed the peak to gaze northward for her lost lover, the then-governor of Pyongyang. He had been taken away during a 17th-century Chinese invasion. In that regard, the peak is a rather perfect analogy for a divided Korea, although the annual holiday battle there over the Christmas tree remains rather mystifying to many outsiders.

Pyongyang has consistently launched verbal attacks on the lights, condemning them as 'psychological warfare'

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