The Mass Games will be making another spectacular return in 2021 but you may be asking yourself “what is the Mass Games?”
The Mass Games concept is not actually based on any games, but a performance featuring over 100,000 participants in a 90-minute display of gymnastics, dance, acrobatics, and dramatic performance. This, together with music and other effects, all comes together wrapped in a highly politicized and synchronized package. It also features the ‘largest picture in the world’ – a giant mosaic of 18,000 students each holding a book whose pages links with their neighbours’ to make up one gigantic scene. Recognised as the world’s largest performance by the Guinness Book of Records and therefore held in the world’s largest stadium located in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The Arirang Mass Games was first held in 2002 and continued every year until it was put on hiatus with the last showing in 2013. In 2018 it made a surprising come back but under the title of “The Glorious Country” with new performances including drones, high flying acrobats, lasers and LED lights for glow in the dark performances. The Mass Games returned again in 2019 with the title of “The Land of the People”.
The Mass Games performance of 2020 took place for the 75th Anniversary of Party Foundation Day – 10th October. The title of the performance was “Great Leadership”.
How to watch the Mass Games?
To spectate the Mass Games simply contact us to secure your spot on tour to Pyongyang and inform us which class ticket you want below so we can make the reservations on your behalf. Tickets are purchased during your North Korea tour with cash only.
Cost per person:
- 3rd Class – €100 / 800RMB
- 2nd Class – €300 / 2,300RMB
- 1st Class – €500 / 3,800RMB
- VIP – €800 / 6,000RMB
Where does the Mass Games come from? A deeper look into history.
The Mass Games origins come from the Soviet era back when the Russians felt that the Olympic games were too “Capitalist” and the Soviets could have their own purer version of the Olympics. In 1928 it was first titled Spartakiad, named after the rebel slave Spartacus. Between 1928 and 1937, ten Spartakiads events were held before World War II shook the world and the events were postponed due to war. One of the major parts of the Spartakiad events was the mass dancing and gymnastics theme which would carry on across the socialist lines.
After the end of WWII and with many countries rebuilding their governments under the communist flag, one of the benefits of becoming socialist was being able to throw your own Spartakiads. There are some great clips of mass games happening in Albania under Hoxha, and Romania under Ceausescu.
After the DPRK was founded in 1948, the North also engaged in Spartakiad-type events before putting their own spin on things in 1961 calling it “The Era of the Workers Party”. From this period there were over 100 variations under different titles until 2002 when the most famous Mass Games were named “Arirang”. Bringing us up to where we are now.