Atlantic Cities
Postcard

How North Korea Throws Itself a Birthday Party

North Korea became a country on September 9, 1948. And it celebrated its 65th anniversary in typical fashion.

Like nearly every big celebration in the isolated, repressive country, the festivities centered around Pyongyang's Kim Il-Sung Square, one of the largest public squares in the world (807,000 square feet, slightly larger than Cairo's Tahrir Square).


Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang. Just across the Taedong river from the Juche Tower View Larger Map

The space is often used for official rallies, dances or military parades. Yesterday, it was used for all three, as a carefully orchestrated series of events offered a narrow window into the country's culture, its military, and its forced admiration for the Kim dynasty.

Via Reuters and the Korean Central News Agency, a propaganda arm of the North Korean government, a look at the country's birthday celebrations in Pyongyang yesterday:


A view is seen of a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a mass rally in Pyongyang September 9, 2013 in celebration of the 65th anniversary of North Korea. (REUTERS/KCNA) 


(REUTERS/KCNA)


Tractors pull artillery through Kim Il Sung Square September 9, 2013 in celebration of the 65th anniversary of North Korea. (REUTERS/KCNA)


The art squad of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League holds a performance at the plaza of the Monument to Party Founding on September 9, 2013 in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the founding of North Korea. (REUTERS/KCNA)


People dance during a performance by the art squad of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League at the plaza of the Monument to Party Founding on September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA) 


Pyongyang citizens welcome the military parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards  in Pyongyang on September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA) 


Soldiers wave during the military parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards in Pyongyang on September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA)


The parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and mass rally in Pyongyang September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA)


People dance during a performance by the art squad of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League at the plaza of the Monument to Party Founding on September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA) 


People watch a performance by the art squad of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League at the plaza of the Monument to Party Founding on September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA) 


Kim Jong-un attends the parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards, September 9, 2013. (REUTERS/KCNA) 

Keywords: North Korea, Pyongyang

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

Join the Discussion