The Christmas Trees of Pyongyang

A first-time visitor to Pyongyang's restaurants could be forgiven for thinking she was in the most pro-Christmas town in Asia. Just kidding, that person would not be forgiven for being interminably stupid. Indeed, while such a person may not exist, it is clear that Christmas trees are everywhere in Pyongyang, year round. In the DPRK, they adorn mostly 'fancy' places. 

Its a great example of Saussurean semiotics. The arbitrariness of the tree itself is clear: the meaning for us is bound up in our cultural and personal histories, while a Korean sees a pretty tree with lights acting (I suspect) as a form of shorthand for classy, cosmopolitan and bright. Certainly nothing to do with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

All these pictures are from August.


 O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum

 Two for one.

Two for one.

 Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree

 how lovely 

how lovely 

 are your branches?

are your branches?

 Christmas bulgogi, no need to carve.

Christmas bulgogi, no need to carve.