north korea - arirang or mass games 2011
Arirang Festival mass games display in Pyongyang on Republic Foundation Day 9 september 2011.
The Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang 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 possess an important ideological character praising the Workers Party of North Korea, its armed forces, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. These messages may not be clear to foreign spectators who are not aware of North Korean iconography: a rising sun symbolizes Kim Il Sung. When a gun is shown, it signifies the gun which Kim Il Sung gave to his son Kim Jong Il. The color red, particularly in flowers, stands for the working class. And the color purple and purple flowers represent 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.
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 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.