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North Korea Culture and Traditions

Customs and traditions

The common culture of Koreans has deep historical roots in the Koryo and Choson dynasties between the 900s and 1900s. However, since the mid-1900s, North Korea has gone its own way both politically and culturally. Culture and life patterns will serve the state, the party and the leader dynasty Kim. North Korea is described as a large revolutionary family, with deceased leader Kim Il-Sung still regarded as the head.

The scenic national song Aegukka has largely been replaced by patriotic songs praising the deceased leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il as well as the latter's son and the country's current leader, Kim Jong-Un. The personal cult of Kim Il-Sung has, through the state-controlled education system, made the Kim family an example for men and women, young and old. The children learn from stories from Kim's childhood, and moral and ideological propaganda is transmitted through parables where Kim and his family members are protagonists.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of North Korea, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

Know and label

In traditional Korean culture, it is extremely sensitive to lose face. Koreans talk about protecting the kibun, inner feelings or outward reputation. Relationships are based on social balance and correct behavior, a harmony that must not be disturbed. Respect for the elderly and superiors is crucial, and status is important.

Culture and Traditions of North KoreaAlthough this exists as a background culture in the interaction between North Koreans, the attitude to the state and the leadership dynasty is all overshadowing in today's society. The individual's feelings must be subordinated to the interests of the nation and the leader. The worst label violation is not showing reverence for the Kim family of leaders.

The state, party and cult of Kim Il-Sung have also taken over the language in North Korea. People learn the correct vocabulary by reading government and party publications, while they do not have access to literature from outside. Words and expressions that are not considered to fit the interests of the party or state will not enter society. The state-controlled linguistic norm makes people in North Korea sound very similar, whether high or low educated. Common are words and concepts such as revolution, socialism, communism, class struggle, patriotism, anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, national reunification and devotion and loyalty to the leader.

Food and clothing

White rice and meat soup used to be a symbol of good food in North Korea, but poverty and occasional starvation in North Korea have resulted in poor diet, mainly rice. Otherwise, naengmyon, cold noodles, is a favorite dish in North Korea. The leader layer lives in culinary luxury and visitors from outside are served a varied menu, which is not available to ordinary North Koreans. All foods are regulated by the state.

North Koreans often wear uniform-like clothing with no sharp colors. Black, gray and dark blue are common with white shirt and blouse.
It is considered that women should not wear pants unless they work in a factory or in agriculture. Women are generally encouraged to show feminine features in their attire. In public appearances and reception of guests from outside, women often wear a variant of the traditional Korean national costume male book, more colorful than everyday wear.

In public, all adult North Koreans wear a Kim Il Sung badge to the left of their chest as a sign of loyalty. The person's status is evident from the type of brand you carry.

Traditions and holidays

National holidays are mainly Kim Il-Sung's birthday on February 16 and Kim Jong-Il's birthday on April 15. Since 2010, Kim Jong-Un's birthday is also celebrated on January 8. In addition, the Workers 'Day is celebrated on May 1, the Nation's founding September 9 and the Workers' Party October 10. Some of these days are celebrated with Soviet-style military parades, while others are celebrated as art festivals and official collections.



Violent protests following currency reform

A currency reform is implemented, which means that old banknotes lose almost completely in value. The popular protests are unusually violent.


American journalists are pardoned

Former US President Bill Clinton visits North Korea where he meets Kim Jong-Il. Both imprisoned journalists are pardoned and allowed to leave the country.


American journalists are sentenced to labor camps

Two female American journalists are sentenced to twelve years of labor camp for illegally entering the country.

New sanctions from the UN

The UN Security Council unanimously adopts new sanctions, which impose a near total ban on arms exports to and from North Korea, and provide clear signs for the search of vessels with suspected cargo on their way to or from the country.


New nuclear war explosion

A second test of nuclear weapons is carried out, two and a half years after the first test. Six short-range robots are also being postponed, and North Korea is no longer bound by the 1953 standstill agreement with South Korea.


North Korea withdraws from the six-party talks

The UN Security Council condemns the rocket launch. North Korea withdraws from the six-party talks (see Foreign Policy and Defense) and says it will never participate again. The IAEA inspectors are forced to remove seals and turn off monitoring equipment in the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, leaving the country.

Suspected test firing of long range weapons

North Korea launches a rocket, according to its own statement, to place a satellite in orbit. The outside world, however, suspects that it is a test firing of a long-range weapon, in violation of the existing UN sanctions.

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