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Public holidays in North Korea

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This is a list of public holidays in North Korea. See also the Korean calendar for a list of traditional holidays. As of 2017, the North Korean calendar has 71 official public holidays, including Sundays.[1] In the past, North Koreans relied on rations provided by the state on public holidays for feasts. Recently, with marketization people are able to save up money and buy the goods they need.[2]

The Day of the Sun, the birthday of its founder and first leader Kim Il Sung, on 15 April is the most important holiday in the country.[3] The second most important is the Day of the Shining Star on 16 February, the birthday of Kim Jong Il.[4] As of 2019, Kim Jong Un's birthday is still not a public holiday.[5] Other holidays of great importance are the Party Foundation Day (10 October) and the Day of the Foundation of the Republic (9 September).[6] North Koreans often schedule their wedding days on important national holidays.[7]

North Korea regularly carries out missile and nuclear tests on such important anniversaries.[8]

List of annual holidays[edit]

Date English name Notes Remarks Local name
1 January New Year's Day[9] Celebrates the opening of the Gregorian New Year.
15 January Chosongul Day The day commemorates the invention (1443) and the proclamation (1446) of Chosongul, the native alphabet of the Korean language. King Sejong the Great, inventor of Chosongul, is one of the most honored rulers in Korean history.
8 February Army Day[10] The Korean People's Army was established on 8 February 1948, and that day was celebrated as Army Day until 1978, when it was moved to 25 April (q.v.). It was reinstated as a public holiday in 2015.[11]
16 February Day of the Shining Star[9] Kim Jong Il's birthday.[12] 2 days
2 March Tree Planting Day People across the country plant trees.[13][14][15]
8 March International Women's Day[16] Commemorates the history of women across the country.
last day of 12th lunar month Seotdal Geumeum Korean New Year, based on the Korean calendar.
1st day of 1st lunar month Seolmyeongjeol Korean New Year, based on the Korean calendar.
15 April Day of the Sun[9] Birthday of Kim Il Sung. 3 days 태양절
21 April Kang Pan Suk's birthday Commemorates the birth of Kim Il Sung's mother.
25 April Military Foundation Day[9] Kim Il Sung moved the date from 8 February to the date of establishment of his guerilla army in 1932, considered the predecessor of the Korean People's Army. 인민군 창건일
15th day of 1st lunar month Daeboreum Based on the Korean calendar.
1st day of 2nd lunar month Meoseumnal [ko] Based on the Korean calendar.
3rd day of 3rd lunar month Samjinnal Based on the Korean calendar.
105th day after Winter Solstice Hansik Based on the Korean calendar.
8th day of 4th lunar month Chopail Based on the Korean calendar.
1 May International Workers' Day (Labor Day) [17] Celebrates the economic and social achievements of workers.
1 June International Children's Day[9]
6 June Korean Children's Union Foundation Day[9] Public holiday marking the 1946 foundation of the Korean Children's Union.
15 June North-South Joint Declaration
19 June Anniversary of Kim Jong Il's commencement of work in the Workers' Party Central Committee Officially a public holiday since 2015 but celebrated unofficially before, this holiday marks Kim Jong Il's 1964 graduation from Kim Il Sung University and start of work in the party organization.[17]
5th day of 5th lunar month Surinal Based on the Korean calendar.
3 July Day of the Strategic Forces[1] A new holiday established on 24 June 2016 by Ordinance No. 1177 of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly which commemorates the foundation of the Korean People's Army Strategic Force on 3 July 1999.
27 July Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War[9] The 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement 조국해방전쟁 승리 기념일
15 August Liberation Day[9] Established after the liberation of Korea in 1945. 조국해방기념일
25 August Day of Songun[9] A new holiday established in 2013 commemorating Kim Jong Il's inspection visit to the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su Guards 105th Armored Division of the Korean People's Army on August 25, 1960, which is always regarded as the "start of the Songun revolutionary leadership" by the North Korean government. 광명성절
28 August Youth Day 조국해방기념일
9 September Day of the Foundation of the Republic[9] Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948. 인민정권 창건일
15th day of 6th lunar month Yudu [ko] Based on the Korean calendar.
7th day of 7th lunar month Chilseok Based on the Korean calendar.
15th day of 7th lunar month Baekjung Based on the Korean calendar.
15th day of 8th lunar month Chuseok Based on the Korean calendar, North Korean Mid-Autumn Festival.
10 October Party Foundation Day[9] Founding of the Workers' Party of Korea in 1945. 노동당 창건일
9th day of 9th lunar month Jungyangjeol Based on the Korean calendar.
16 November Mother's Day[9][17] A new holiday from 2012 onward honoring all mothers.
18 November Missile Industry Day[18] Dedicated to celebrating a Hwasong-15 ICBM launch that took place on Nov. 29, 2017 로케트공업절
20 December Dongji Winter solstice, based on the Korean calendar.
24 December Kim Jong Suk's birthday Commemorates the birth of Kim Jong Il's mother.
27 December Constitution Day[9] Enactment of the Socialist Constitution of North Korea in 1972.
31 December New Year's Eve Celebrates the closing of the Gregorian New Year.

Momentous changes in political holidays in North Korean calendars[edit]

During some years, certain dates related with the Kim regime are additionally designated as public holidays for propaganda purposes.

In the 2014 version of the North Korean calendar, "Generalissimo Day" (대원수추대일) briefly became a holiday that honors when Kim Jong Il posthumously received the title "Generalissimo of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" in 2012.[16]

In the 2015 calendar, a new public holiday was to be celebrated on June 19, marking the date in 1964 when Kim Jong Il graduated from Kim Il Sung University and began working as part of the Party’s organizational leadership. Various events related to the commemorative day take place every year on this date in North Korea, but this was the first time it has been recognized as a national holiday. [19]

In the 2017 calendar, July 3 became a public holiday called "Day of the Strategic Forces" (전략군절).[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kang Mi Jin (13 January 2017). "Official 2017 Calendar Seen as out of Touch". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  2. ^ "North Koreans make the most of Liberation Day". dailynk.com. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  3. ^ Calum MacLeod (26 April 2013). "Korean defectors recall 'Day of the Sun'". USA TODAY. Contributing: Jueyoung Song, Duck Hwa Hong. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  4. ^ Barbra Kim (21 February 2012). "What Really Glimmers Behind the 'Day of the Shining Star'". cogitASIA. CSIS Asia Program. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Kim Jong-un's birthday remains unmarked in 2019 calendars". The Korean Herald. Yonhap. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  6. ^ Yonhap News Agency, Seoul (27 December 2002). North Korea Handbook. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 451–452. ISBN 978-0-7656-3523-5.
  7. ^ Toimela, Markku; Aalto, Kaj (2017). Salakahvilla Pohjois-Koreassa: Markku Toimelan jännittävä tie Pohjois-Korean luottomieheksi (in Finnish). Jyväskylä: Docendo. p. 40. ISBN 978-952-291-369-2.
  8. ^ Shinkman, Paul D. (4 October 2017). "CIA Official Predicts North Korean Provocation on Columbus Day". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Seol Song Ah (7 December 2015). "Kim Jong Un's birthday still not a holiday". Daily NK. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  10. ^ Johnson, Gareth. "What's the difference between North Korea's February 8th Army Day and April 25th Military Foundation Day?". Young Pioneer Tours. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  11. ^ "A Few Facts on North Korea's Army Day | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea". February 2018.
  12. ^ "Day of Shining Star to Be Marked in Norway". Korean Central News Agency. February 12, 2015. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  13. ^ "Tree-Planting Day in the DPR-Korea embodies Socialist and traditional Asian Cultural Values". Archived from the original on 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  14. ^ "Tree-planting Day Marked in DPRK". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  15. ^ North Korea Tree-planting Day on YouTube
  16. ^ a b Cho Jong Ik (December 25, 2013). "2014 Calendar Reveals Few Surprises". DailyNK. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  17. ^ a b c Lee Sang Yong (16 December 2014). "North Korea's Official 2015 Calendar Revealed". Daily NK. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  18. ^ Anton Sokolin (2023-11-06). "North Korea debuts new holiday to mark launch of largest nuclear missile". NK News. Retrieved 2024-06-05.
  19. ^ "North Korea's Official 2015 Calendar Revealed". dailynk.
  20. ^ "Official 2017 calendar seen as out of touch". dailynk.

External links[edit]