NORTH KOREA – the Mass Games

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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11 Responses to "NORTH KOREA – the Mass Games"

  1. Pingback: The Bucket List | Globalmouse travels

  2. Bemused Backpacker  August 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    WOW! I’ve just caught this post! This is fantastic, I would LOVE to visit North Korea! It’s really high up on my wish list!

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    • globalmouse  August 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      You must go!! And go soon before it changes. It’s the most amazing country to visit – so strange and beautiful all in one. You have to suspend so much you normally do when you travel, it’s like entering a whole new world with totally different rules. I really, really want to go back!

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      • Bemused Backpacker  August 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

        I definitely will! I cant wait to see it! I love feeling this excited about the possibility of travelling somewhere new!

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  3. globalmouse  August 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Me too! There are so many places to visit – the dreaming about them is half the fun!!

    Reply
  4. A Mum in London  December 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Oh my, that looks so interesting. I look forward to reading more on your travels there, it must have been quite an experience!

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    • globalmouse  December 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      It was definitely an experience!! We really loved it there. I will be posting more on it in the New Year 🙂 Thank you for your comments!

      Reply
  5. Mrs. Chasing the Donkey  February 6, 2014 at 8:02 am

    What a cool place to say that you have been to – arhhhh so much colour!! Great post GM.

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  6. A Southern Gypsy  February 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Not many can say they have been to North Korea. I hope to make it their one day! 🙂

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  7. Derek Freal  March 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I plan to make it to the Arirang Festival this year — something I have been dying to do for as long as I remember. Happy to hear that y’all enjoyed the experience and now am even more stoked to see it firsthand. Cheers!

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  8. Marie-Carmen  April 26, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Really like your photos of the Mass games, and I’d really love to do the same and go to North Korea, that’s just such an experience!

    Reply

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