Yesterday, North Korea opened its annual mass games, Arirang, which will run through until September 9th.
This is the tenth and final year the celebrations have gone underway; after this year, Arirang will be discontinued, and is likely to be replaced by another national mass event.
Arirang shows include carefully synchronized dancing, gymnastics and perfectly timed flip-card mosaics performed by thousands of participants, often whom are young schoolchildren.
In attendance yesterday were Party Secretary, Kim Ki Nam, and Vice Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Yang Hyeong Seop, as well as other central party officials, soldiers, workers from Pyongyang and foreigner audience members.
According to Chosun Sinbo, a Tokyo-based paper with strong affiliations to the North Korean governement, as many as 10,000 foreigners and Koreans based abroad have applied to watch the games.
Not only does this year mark the last for Arirang, adding further significance is the fact that 2012 is the centennial anniversary of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, whose life and accomplishments are a central part of Arirang performances. Also, praise of the country’s new leader, Kim Jong Eun, was included in the show on Thursday.
Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) reports, "The show portrayed profound national sentiment through the high artistry of the dance, gymnastic and acrobatic performances,” adding, “It was highly acclaimed by the audience for its perfect execution."