Celebrating Asia's
Valentine's Day
in North Korea

Known in China as Qixi, this holiday has a melancholic meaning in North Korea

The Chilseok (칠석) festival falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month (which is today). The legend tells the story of the forbidden love between Zhikneo and Gyeonu (the weaver girl and the cowherd). Once a year, crows and magpies would form a bridge, (오작교 Ojakgyo), over the Silver River so that the star-crossed lovers could meet each other.

This romantic legend evolved as Valentine’s Day in China and Japan, where lovers exchange chocolate, cards and flowers to express their affection to each other. Chilseok in the DPRK, however, does not have a festive mood. Instead, Koreans embrace this day as a metaphor for the tragedy between the North and South, thus expressing the hopes and aspiration for national reconciliation, peace and prosperity.

The song 'Reunification of Korea' (1988) shows the desires of Koreans to reunify the country. North Korea considers it as a masterpiece that embodies a great mixture of national emotions and modern sentiments.

The lyrics to the first part of the song are as follows:

하늘나라견우직녀 (Zhikneoand Gyeonu)

ha-neul-na-la gyeon-u-jik-nyeo-

기쁨속에만난다리 (Are going to meet)

gi-ppeum-sok-e man-nan-da-li-

우리들도이땅위에 (In this land)

u-li-deul-do i-ttang-wi-e-

어서빨리세웁시다 (We should also build)

eo-seo-ppal-li se-ub-si-da-

통일오작교~! (the Reunification bridge)

tong-il o-jak-gyo-~!

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