The Mass games are officially back! This year’s performance is expected to be quite special – and not just because this is the first time in 5 years that the event is actually taking place again. Rumours claim that LED lights and new technologies will also be a part of the show…


But, what exactly are the Arirang Mass Games?

The Arirang Mass Games are an artistic show which includes chanting, dancing, gymnastics and highly coordinated performances aimed at glorifying the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its history.

Here are 10 interesting facts you may not have known about the Mass Games:

1. The Mass Games performance was held yearly from 2002–2005, and then stopped in 2006 for one year then re-started again in 2007 until they ended abruptly in 2013, but nobody knows why. 

2. The Mass Games were awarded the “world’s largest gymnastic display” by the Guinness Book of Records in 2007 as 100,090 performers took part in the show. 

3. The show is performed in Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium, the largest stadium in the world by seating capacity.


4. The name “Arirang” is part of Korea folklore. It is an allegory for “Koreanness” and is also a symbol of division between North and South Korea.

5The Mass Games performances have always started at around 7 pm and lasted for about 90 minutes.

Performers march during the “Arirang” mass games in Pyongyang, Monday, July 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

6Citizens from the age of 5 are selected based on their gymnastic skills and chosen from 8 different schools in Pyongyang. They train almost everyday from as early as January onwards until the performances begin to take place usually from August until October.

7. A total of 20,000 students are designated to form a living backdrop with flashing colored cards to create massive images and symbols of patriotism with synchronized movements. These books of colored images can have as many as 170 pages.

Children holding individual flashcards to create a happy patriot in uniform (David Guttenfelder, National Geographic 2013)

8DPRK iconography and symbolism is omnipresent throughout the show with colors and natural elements specifically constructed to praise the country’s glory, the Leadership and the Workers’ Party of Korea.

9. The 2018 performance entitled “빛나는 조국” which means “Bright Fatherland” or “Brilliant Fatherland” in English is also the same as a popular song performed by the Moranbong Band – the most famous North Korean all-female music group.

10. The cheapest ticket for this year’s event will cost 100 Euro. The other tickets can cost from 300 Euro to 800 Euro for a VIP seating.

Interested in witnessing this show? Join Paektu Tours this September and experience North Korea first hand


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