NORTH KOREA – the Mass Games

Posted on August 12, 2013

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We travelled to the DPRK just before we started a family but so many people have asked about our travels there I have decided to include it here on Globalmouse. I really look forward to the day when I can take my children there. I wouldn’t right now only because I don’t think it would interest them – they are very young and a visit to North Korea is very prescribed and involves lots of monuments and behaving in a certain way…none of which is particularly child-friendly! So here is the first in a series of posts about my time in North Korea with more to follow!

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THE MASS GAMES – ARIRANG

I had read up as much as I could about the Mass Games before we travelled to North Korea but absolutely nothing could prepare me for the sheer spectacle of it. The noise: of chanting, shouting and music filled the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang and literally filled me up with its beat. It was absolutely breathtaking with the sounds and sights.

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For those who don’t know anything about the Mass Games these are displays of gymnastics conducted by thousands of people at one time. They dance, conduct martial arts, do acrobatics, all in unison and the effect is spellbinding. While the choreographed dances are happening the seats behind them are filled with 30,000 children each holding up a board which they flick to change the picture throughout. Each child is like a single pixel to create a whole large picture which the audience sat facing them across the stadium can see. It’s incredible and the choreography of the whole event is often baffling!

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Nearly all of the dances have a political message which is conveyed through the music and the changing scenery behind.

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Each performance lasts 90 minutes and is over much, much too fast. We were really lucky to be able to watch it twice. This is something if you get the chance to see I would say grab the opportunity, it really is unique!

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Posted in: North Korea