(Tea Party 247) – Christmas is certainly a holiday that we often assume is celebrated the world over, and certainly all over the globe Christians and even often secularists observe the traditionally Christian celebration.
However, many of those in the world’s community countries, where authoritarian leaders are threatened by the self-governing teachings of Jesus Christ and anything that calls to mind the much higher authority in the Creator of the universe than fallible, earthly megalomaniacs who run communist countries, Christmas takes on a very different significance–if it’s observed at all.
Breitbart took a look this Christmas at what the sacred holiday is like in some of these rouge and authoritarian nations:
“In communist North Korea, Christmas is effectively a non-event. With all forms of religion banned, the large majority of North Koreans are not even aware of who Santa Claus is or the meaning behind the festival,” they explain.
Although the nation is the most dangerous place for Christians to live and worship, 1.7 percent of the nation identifies this way.
We can only imagine that there may be families who celebrate Christmas in secret, but by doing so they “run a severe risk of arrest, torture, or even execution.”
Of course, North Korea is well aware of the significance of the Christmas holiday, as they reminded us this year with their promise to launch a “Christmas gift” for the United States, although as of this writing no such “gift” has been delivered.
China is where much of the world’s covert Christian persecution goes on. And while religion is unofficially illegal, Beijing still can’t help but take advantage of the economic opportunities during the global holiday season.
“However, Christmas is not a public holiday in China and authorities do not celebrate it as a religious holiday, with hardline nationalists denouncing it as a Western cultural influence that waters down traditional Chinese culture. This pushback was highlighted last year when some cities banned all Christmas decorations and celebrations,” Breitbart notes.
“The Chinese state has recently stepped up its crackdown on religious celebrations, although the sheer size of the Christian population has made this a difficult task. Last year, many churches across the country defied authorities by holding multiple services across the festive season,” they add.
“As the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is not surprising that Christmas celebrations are few and far between,” Breitbart explains, adding, that “Perhaps surprisingly, publicly celebrating Christmas is not against Iranian law, presumably because the numerical insignificance of the country’s Christian population (330,000-370,000) is not considered a significant threat to the theocratic state.”
Most Iranian Christians are Armenian and observe the holiday by fasting from meat, eggs, milk, or cheese until Christmas Day. On December 25th, they feast on a traditional chicken stew known as harissa or a roast turkey.
While the very American tradition of gift-giving is not usually a part of Iranian Christmases, sometimes children receive new clothing as gifts.
“While worship is technically allowed under the Islamic Republic’s constitution, a Muslim converting to Christianity is considered a serious crime. The state’s powerful mullahs last year ordered a crackdown on Christian leaders deemed to be exerting ‘foreign influence,’ in what some speculate was a retaliation against the U.S. for the re-imposition of economic sanctions,” they add.