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Arirang Festival

Arirang Festival


The Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang (Hangul: 아리랑 축제 Hanja: 아리랑 祝祭) are held in the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. The two-month gymnastics and artistic festival celebrates the birthday of Kim Il-sung (15 April).


The festival has been held from August until October since 2002-2005, and 2007 until the present.


The Mass Games are of a totally ideological character praising the Workers Party of North Korea, its armed forces, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The message may be hidden for foreign spectators who are not aware of the North Korean Communist iconography: When the Sun rises - this means Kim Il Sung. When a gun is shown - it is the gun which Kim Il Sung gave to his son Kim Jong Il. The color red, particularly in flowers symbolizes Kim Jong Il. And the colour purple and purple flowers means Kim Il Sung (as the flower 'Kimilsungia is a purple orchid and the flower 'Kimjongilia' is a red begonia). A snowy mountain with a lake represents Mount Paektu where Kim Jong Il is said to have been born in a log cabin during the fight against Japanese oppression (in actual fact he was born in Khabarovsk, Soviet Union).


From as young as 5 years old, citizens are selected based on skill level to serve for the Arirang Festival for many years. In most cases this will be the way of life for them until retirement.


The opening event of the two month festival are the mass games, which are famed for the huge mosaic pictures created by more than 30,000 children of very well trained and disciplined school children, each holding up coloured cards, in an event known in the West as a card stunt, accompanied by complex and highly choreographed group routines performed by tens of thousands of gymnasts and dancers.

World record

In August 2007, the Arirang Mass Games were recognised by Guinness World Records as the biggest event of its kind. In recent years, the DPRK has opened up the reclusive state to foreign tourists to watch one of the many performances.

Picture from Asianinfo text Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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