If you are lucky enough to go for beers in the Old Quarter of Bucharest, to places like Care Cu Bere, it would be easy to think that communism had never been a feature of Romania. But stroll along for 10 minutes, or so and then it hits you: Ceausescu-era architecture!
Romania under Ceausescu was famous for being one of the more staunchest adverts to full-on Socialism based on the Stalin line, but what few people know is that in the 1970s, Ceausescu visited both Mao-era China and Kim-Il-Sung-era DPRK, and that, to say the least, had somewhat of a big effect.
Ceausescu saw the Cultural Revolution and how things were done in the DPRK and liked a lot of what he saw. One of the things he liked was their version of mass gymnastics.
Mass Gymnastics displays might have had their birth in the Soviet Union, and they may well have expanded to places like Czechoslovakia and Romania, but “mass games” as we see today are a very North Korean thing, and Romania decided to emulate it in its own way.
Hoxha in Albania was on the Chinese side during the Sino-Soviet split, and this meant Albania was allowed to remain on at least cordial terms with the DPRK (who were largely neutral during the split). And if you look at the mass gymnastics displays there (which went on until the 90s), again you very much see the North Korean influence.
We’ve put together a few links, of the very few links that are available on YouTube for the “mass games” follower. If you’ve been to the Mass Games in Pyongyang you will surely see the similarities.
Check out our links and feel free to let us know if you something even better!
To see the DPRK’s Mass Games yourself, check out our tours this September!