Does North Korea Celebrate Easter

Easter is a traditional Christian celebration that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but how is it celebrated in North Korea? North Korea is officially an atheistic country and Easter is not celebrated as part of the official state calendar.

For the average North Korean, the holiday has very little meaning, since most people are not familiar with the Easter customs and traditions, nor do they have any knowledge of Christianity or the true meaning of the holiday. This is due to the laws which restrict religious expression, the scarcity of religious institutions, and the low level of education.

Access to accurate information about Christianity and the celebration of Easter is limited, as the press and media in North Korea is state-controlled and anyone found to be in possession of religious material is subject to prosecution. International visitors are also prohibited from bringing religious materials into the country, and any violation of this law can result in heavy fines or even imprisonment.

However, while Easter itself is not officially celebrated in North Korea, a large number of foreign aid workers located in the country observe the holiday by gathering together and quietly honouring the day in their own way. Some aid workers have also shared their religious beliefs and celebrations with local North Koreans and taught them the real meaning behind Easter.

For example, in recent years there have been reports of aid workers organizing small Easter holiday campaigns for children in North Korea, with activities such as egg hunts, Easter egg decorating, and even Easter prayers. These events have served as a form of outreach, allowing these children to learn more about Christianity and the traditions associated with the holiday.

In addition to the foreign aid workers who have brought Easter traditions to North Korea and have worked to pass on these customs to local people, there have also been reports of small Christian communities springing up in recent years. These communities are believed to be made up of North Korean citizens who have adopted Christian beliefs, and they are likely the only people in the country to observe Easter in the traditional manner.

Persecution of Christian Communities in North Korea

However, while there are scattered pockets of Christians in North Korea, the regime has a long history of persecuting religious communities and forcing people to renounce their faith or face imprisonment or even execution. Members of these small Christian communities also face serious risks by publicly celebrating holidays such as Easter, as it can be interpreted by the government as an act of defiance.

Due to the repressive policies of the regime, religious freedoms in North Korea remain severely limited and this includes the celebration of Easter. Despite the increasing numbers of Christians in the country, Easter is still not widely celebrated and those who do so are risking serious punishment for their actions.

Furthermore, due to the lack of access to outside information, many North Koreans are unaware of the Easter holiday, its traditions, and its religious significance. As a result, Easter is a largely unknown holiday in North Korea, with few people having any knowledge of its origin or understanding its true meaning.

The Impact of International Sanctions on North Korea’s Easter Celebrations

International sanctions against North Korea imposed by the United Nations Security Council in response to the country’s nuclear weapons program have had a significant impact on the country. These sanctions have made it difficult for many North Koreans to access food, medicine, and other basic necessities, and have also affected their ability to celebrate Easter.

Sanctions have made it difficult for people in North Korea to access materials necessary for celebrating Easter, such as eggs and decorations. International aid organizations are often unable to send humanitarian assistance to the country due to the sanctions, which means the local people are unable to receive the material support needed to celebrate Easter.

In addition, North Korea has long struggled with chronic food shortages, and the country is currently facing its worst food crisis since the 1990s. This lack of adequate nutrition has made it even more difficult for North Koreans to participate in the festivities associated with Easter, since they are already struggling to meet their daily needs.

The international sanctions against North Korea have also led to an increase in the cost of living and a decrease in the value of the country’s currency. This has made it even harder for North Koreans to afford the materials necessary for celebrating Easter, as well as other special occasions.


Overall, Easter is not an official holiday in North Korea and the celebrations of the holiday are severely limited. This is due to both the repressive policies of the regime, as well as the international sanctions against the country. Nevertheless, small pockets of Christians are still able to observe the holiday, though these celebrations often take place in secret.

North Korea and Christianity

In recent years, North Korea has seen a rise in the number of Christians in the country, though the exact numbers are difficult to determine. This is due to the repressive policies of the regime, which makes it difficult to track the activities of religious groups.

However, while the church remains small in North Korea, the number of converts to Christianity has increased significantly in recent years. This is likely due to the increased access to Christian materials, such as Bibles and other religious books, which are smuggled into the country by international aid organizations and religious groups.

There have also been reports of Christians in North Korea suffering persecution for their faith. The regime has a long history of curtailing religious freedoms and those who are caught expressing their faith are subject to imprisonment or even execution. As a result, many churches in North Korea are forced to meet in secret and those who participate in church activities do so at great risk.

In addition, North Korea has adopted a policy of religious tolerance in recent years and this has allowed the small Christian community to grow and expand. This is evidenced by the testimonies of North Korean refugees, who have shared their stories of facing persecution for their faith and have described their experiences of attending religious services in secret.

The Future of Christianity in North Korea

Despite the persecution of Christian groups in North Korea, the faith has slowly been gaining ground in recent years. This is due to both the increased access to religious materials, as well as the gradual opening up of the country by the regime.

It remains to be seen whether North Korea will continue to open up and allow Christian faith to take hold, or if the state will revert back to its policy of repression and persecution. While it is unlikely that Easter will ever become an official holiday in North Korea, the Christian faith has already taken root in many parts of the country and this gives cause for optimism that the situation could improve in the future.

The Impact of International Aid

International aid organizations have long played a vital role in ensuring the survival of the Christian faith in North Korea. Through a variety of humanitarian aid initiatives, these organizations have been able to provide support to vulnerable and persecuted Christian communities, as well as providing material aid to those in need.

In addition, many of these organizations have also been actively involved in spreading the message of Christianity and its beliefs to the North Korean people. They have done this through the distribution of religious texts and materials, as well as organizing events and activities to teach people about Christianity and the Easter holiday.

These initiatives have been incredibly important in spreading the message of Christianity and Easter in North Korea, and have made it possible for some North Koreans to learn about the true meaning of the holiday. International aid has also provided vital support to the small Christian communities in North Korea, helping them to survive and practice their faith in an otherwise hostile environment.


While Easter is not openly celebrated in North Korea, there are still a small number of Christians in the country who observe the holiday in secret. These Christians face extreme risks and persecution for their faith, and face significant obstacles when it comes to accessing the materials and resources necessary to celebrate Easter.

Furthermore, the international sanctions imposed on North Korea have made it difficult for North Koreans to access the materials and resources necessary to celebrate Easter, as well as impacting their ability to meet their daily needs. The future of Christianity in North Korea remains uncertain, though there are reasons for optimism that the situation could improve in the future.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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