Everything you need to know about Victory Day in North Korea (DPRK)
On July 27, 1953, hostilities in the Korean War were brought to an end by the signing of the Korean War Armistice. The armistice was signed by North Korea (DPRK), the United Nations and China. South Korea never signed it, because they couldn’t accept a divided Korea.
While not a formal peace treaty – the two sides are technically still at war – the armistice stopped the fighting that had ravaged the Korean peninsula since 1953.
The day is celebrated as a national holiday in North Korea, known as Victory Day.
How is Victory Day in North Korea celebrated?
Victory Day is celebrated across North Korea as locals get the day off work. North Koreans go to parks and public squares to enjoy the summer weather and perform mass dances, a famous type of North Korean celebration activity. Victory Day is a great time to visit North Korea as the weather is beautiful, and the festive spirit has everyone in a good mood!
Tourists in North Korea on Victory Day can dance with the locals in famous locations such as Kim Il Sung Square. There is also often the chance to join Pyongyangers as they picnic in places such as Moranbong Park (where there will often also be dancing!).
It’s also a very interesting time of year to visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang, as Victory Day in North Korea is all about the Korean War.
On the Korean War
The Korean War Armistice is also an important part of the history of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the border between North and South Korea that is still maintained by the United Nations. Korea had been divided into North and South since the end of the Second World War in 1945. The peninsula was split at the 38th parallel – which is where the DMZ still is today.
So… who started the Korean War?
The Korean War started in 1950. The two sides – with China supporting the North and the United Nations supporting the South – were fighting over who would control the whole of the Korean Peninsula. To this day, the two sides do not agree about who started the Korean War.
Visiting the North Korea War Museum
If you visit Pyongyang, you’re likely to go to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, otherwise known as the North Korea War Museum There, you can see and climb aboard the captured US spy ship USS Pueblo, and learn about the North Korean’s version of the history of the Korean War. At the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul, you can learn about the South’s version. You can visit both museums on a single trip on our One Korea Tour.
In the past few years more than ever, the fate of the Korean peninsula has been a major topic of international debate. Victory Day in North Korea is a chance to see how North Koreans remember their own fraught and fascinating history.
This year, Victory Day has also coincided with the Mass Games, a spectacular display of North Korean art and culture. If you’ve missed out on our Victory Day tours, but still want to experience a unique North Korean celebration, join us for the Mass Games on one of our Mass Games Tours.