Top 7 Most Famous Festivals and Holidays in North Korea

07-05-2022 7 22 0 0 Báo lỗi

North Korea (DPRK) has been one of the world’s most secretive societies for many years, largely because it is one of very few communist-rules countries left. In addition, its nuclear plans further isolate it from the rest of the world. One of the last things you may associate with North Korea is a festival or a holiday, but the country actually has 17 state-approved holidays its people can celebrate. Now, let’s check out the most famous festivals and holidays in North Korea in the list below!

1 Tâm Vũ

Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebration

The largest and most famous holiday in North Korea is the birthday of Kim Il Sung, also known as “Day of the Sun” in the DPRK. This holiday times itself well as spring is in full effect and locals are longing to leave their homes after a long winter.


North Koreans begin the day by paying respects to various monuments and statues around the city as well as trips to Mangyongdae, his native house and Kumsusan Palace of the Sun which is the final resting place of President Kim Il Sung. As the day progresses people head to local parks and restaurants to enjoy their time off with BBQ and songs.


Where: Pyongyang

When: April 15

Photo: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Wall Street Journal
Video: Young Pioneer Tours
2 Tâm Vũ

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most famous festivals in North Korea. The exact origins of the Dragon Boat Festival are not known but it is believed to have shamanistic origin related to the annual agricultural cycle. According to the official records, however, it originated from Chinese Cho Dynasty (楚), when a loyal retainer named Qu Yuan (屈原) jumped into the Milo river (汨罗水) to show his political fidelity. The time near the summer solstice marks the end of the sowing season and the day to celebrate spiritual ethos to wish for a bountiful harvest. It is also the time for harvesting winter wheat.


Dragon boat races are as popular in North Korea as they are in China, with the annual Dragon Boat Festival taking place at the beginning of spring in early June. A visit to the major event in Pyongyang is an approved tour activity.


Where: Pyongyang

When: June

Photo: CGTN
Photo: CGTN
Photo: Koryo Tours
Photo: Koryo Tours
3 Tâm Vũ

Mass Games

The Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang are held in the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. The gymnastics and artistic festival, known as mass game, begins in early August and ends around September 10th. According to the DPRK publication “Arirang” this particular mass games celebrates the story of North Korea “The extravaganza unfolds an epic story of how the Arirang nation of Korea, a country of morning calm, in the Orient put an end to the history of distress and rose as a dignified nation with the song Arirang”. Arirang is a Korean folk story about a young couple being torn apart by an evil landlord and hence represents the division of Korea.


Mass games or mass gymnastics are a form of performing arts or gymnastics in which large numbers of performers take part in a highly regimented performance that emphasizes group dynamics rather than individual prowess.


Mass Games can basically be described as a synchronized socialist-realist spectacular, featuring over 100,000 participants in a 90-minute display of gymnastics, dance, acrobatics, and dramatic performance, accompanied by music and other effects, all wrapped in a highly politicized package.


Where: Pyongyang

When: August

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Video: Reuters
4 Tâm Vũ

May Day

May Day in North Korea is celebrated as International Workers Day or Labor Day. It is a public holiday in North Korea during which the working class are celebrated. It is one of many public holidays celebrated in North Korea alongside events such as Liberation Day and Victory Day.


Historically, May 1st has been a public holiday in many communist and socialist countries since it aligns very closely with the ideology communism. The celebration of International Workers Day is not isolated to North Korea; many countries, including the United States, celebrate the holiday. In the US it is known as ‘Labor Day’.


In North Korea – people often congregate in local parks to celebrate the holiday. The most popular being Mt. Taesong (Taesongsan) Park - to the north-west of Pyongyang. Dancing, drinking and picnicking are all common activities on the 1st of May in North Korea. The outdoor activities and celebrations may even be more extravagant than other national holidays since the weather around April/May is usually ideal.


When: May 1

Photo: Koryo Tours
Photo: Koryo Tours
Video: Young Pioneer Tours
5 Tâm Vũ

Victory Day

Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War is a public holiday in North Korea. Also known as Armistice Day, this day commemorates the signing of the armistice agreement on July 27th 1953 that brought to an end the fighting in the Korean War - but not the end of the war.


Victory Day is celebrated across North Korea as locals get the day off work. North Koreans go to parks and public squares to enjoy the summer weather and perform mass dances, a famous type of North Korean celebration activity. Victory Day is a great time to visit North Korea as the weather is beautiful, and the festive spirit has everyone in a good mood!


Tourists in North Korea on Victory Day can dance with the locals in famous locations such as Kim Il Sung Square. There is also often the chance to join Pyongyangers as they picnic in places such as Moranbong Park (where there will often also be dancing!). It’s also a very interesting time of year to visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang, as Victory Day in North Korea is all about the Korean War.


When: July 27

Photo: Newsweek
Photo: Newsweek
Photo: Uri Tours
Photo: Uri Tours
6 Tâm Vũ

Liberation Day

Liberation Day is a holiday that marks the liberation of Korea from 35 years of Japanese imperial rule in 1945 after the end of the second world war.


This is one of the few holidays celebrated on the whole of the Korean peninsula. The Korean diaspora all over the world will join in the celebrations by sharing a meal of bibimbap (a rice dish) and kimchi (a vegetable dish), singing Korean folk songs, or playing a game of yut, a traditional board game played in Korea. In North Korea, it is typical to schedule weddings on the holiday.


The holiday is often celebrated with a military parade on Kim Il-sung Square on jubilee years (ex: 25th anniversary, 40th anniversary, 50th anniversary, 60th anniversary, 70th anniversary) with the attendance of the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of North Korea.


When: August 15

Photo: Nigel Craven
Photo: Nigel Craven
Video: Nigel Craven
7 Tâm Vũ

Workers’ Party of Korea Foundation Day

Party Foundation Day celebrates the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea and takes place during autumn when the weather is cool and the rush of the summer crowds begins to slow down. Mass dances, fireworks are scheduled every year. Mass games and military parades are scheduled for special anniversaries.


Celebrations include song and dance performances, evening galas, speeches, lectures on revolutionary history and oratorical meetings. Floral tributes are laid in front of statues of Kim Il-sung. Special food rations are distributed. This usually includes foodstuffs that are normally in short supply, such as oil and snacks. Meat is available through the public distribution system.


Where: Pyongyang

When: October 10

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia
Video: KTG North Korea Travel


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