For those looking to stir up a bit of controversy at this year’s holiday parties, there are an array of Kim Jong Un-themed Christmas sweaters available for purchase online.
Despite the fact North Korea does not celebrate Christmas and has done everything it can to prohibit any related festivities, someone felt it was appropriate to adorn sweaters with the visage of the rogue state’s supreme leader.
These really take the concept of the ugly Christmas sweater to a whole new level.
North Korea banned Christmas in 2016, and Kim told his people to instead celebrate his grandmother, Kim Jong-suk, who was born on December 24, 1919.
More recently, Kim reportedly moved to prohibit gatherings involving singing and alcohol to further clamp down on any potential Christmas-related celebrations. Indeed, Kim seems to be working as hard as possible to emulate the Grinch.
Prior to the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948 (the establishment of North Korea as we know it), roughly 20 percent of the North Korean population was Christian. Some North Koreans reportedly continue to practice Christianity in secret as organized religion is effectively outlawed in the reclusive nation. Though religion isn’t officially banned by the country’s constitution, North Korea’s government would prefer the people to worship its leaders and offer their loyalty to the state. In short, religious persecution is a common theme in North Korea.
Despite the risks involved with practicing religion in the authoritarian country, it’s estimated there are 200,000 to 400,000 Christians still in North Korea in the present day, according to the UN Commission on Human Rights, out of approximately 25 million people in total.