North Korea Celebrates Lunar New Year with Traditional Festivities and Emphasis on Socialist Customs | Be Korea-savvy

North Korea Celebrates Lunar New Year with Traditional Festivities and Emphasis on Socialist Customs


PYONGYANG, Feb. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – In North Korea, the Lunar New Year, a significant cultural holiday, is observed with traditional customs similar to those in South Korea, including the exchange of bows (sebae) and sharing rice cake soup (tteokguk) with family.

However, the state promotes a distinct celebration of the holiday in line with socialist traditions, underscoring the need to continue and develop holiday customs in a manner that aligns with North Korean ideology.

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According to a report from the Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun on February 10, the Lunar New Year is among the most cherished holidays for the North Korean people. The report detailed how North Koreans prepare for the holiday by cleaning their homes and preparing special New Year dishes.

On the day itself, people rise early, dress in new clothes, and perform the ritual of tteokguk serving, followed by bowing to elders within their homes and communities. Folk games such as yutnori (a traditional board game), neolttwigi (seesawing), kite flying, and sledding also add to the festive atmosphere.


The Korean Central Broadcasting Station also highlighted the bustling preparations at the Future Scientists Street’s Seonggyung Restaurant, which is serving various national dishes such as bulgogi, cold noodles, and traditional Korean liquor to celebrate the holiday.

While North Korea observes Lunar New Year and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), the birthdays of Kim Il-sung on April 15, known as the Day of the Sun, and Kim Jong-il on February 16, known as the Day of the Shining Star, are considered the most significant national holidays.

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Previously regarded as remnants of feudalism and not officially celebrated, Lunar New Year was reintroduced as a holiday in 1989 by Kim Jong-il’s directive and officially designated as a public holiday in 2003.

Although it’s a holiday, unlike in South Korea, North Korea does not observe a break from work on Lunar New Year’s Day, and there are restrictions on movement, eliminating the need for mass travel typically seen in South Korea.

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In line with promoting socialist-style holidays, it is customary for North Koreans to visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, where the bodies of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lie in state, or statues of the leaders across the country to pay tribute, rather than visiting ancestral graves.

The Korean Central News Agency highlighted the celebration, stating, “The Lunar New Year is always celebrated with joy and happiness by our people, who cherish our own traditions first and foremost, in accordance with the great leader Comrade Kim Jong-il’s deep devotion and hard work.”

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Art performances across the capital and regions were reported to reflect the people’s unwavering resolve to illuminate the great history of their nation and country.

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Image credit: The Korean Central Broadcasting Station,Korean Central News Agency, Yonhap /

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