Children’s Day was not originally named as such, but was instead called the ‘International Day for Protection of Children’ by the Women’s International Democratic Federation. The holiday was originally established in Moscow during the days of the USSR, and is observed on June 1st. Other nations chose to celebrate Children’s Day but held it on different days of the year. In North Korea, the locals say the ‘children are the kings of the country‘, which is why more attention is brought to this particular day than usual.
One June 1st every child gets a day off from school and special events are held around the country, which involve kids dressing up in their best. Mums and dads take their kids out to the local amusement park or cinema, or simply have a big ol’ family picnic.
During our Children’s Day tour, our group head to Mangyongdae Funfair – the most prestigious park in North Korea that holds the original house of DPRK’s eternal President Kim Il Sung. During this day over a thousand kids gather to compete in games such as baton relay, sack racing, throwing discs, hula-hooping and using a bat to whack a cardboard cut-out of an Imperial Japanese soldier.
The funfair itself is split into two parts: Mangyongdae Funfair 1 and 2. Each part was constructed during the 70s and holds a rollercoaster each – one coaster with one loop and the other with a double loop – very cool! The parks also sport a Ferris wheel, a double-decker merry go-round, go-karting, and other rides that were quite hip during the USSR days.
Our group have full access to the events and the park during this celebration, where we spend most of the morning. Great for photos, great for mingling and a great opportunity to watch this event that only takes place once a year at the Mangyongdae Funfair!