Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang

Went to North Korea recently and one of the highlights of the trip was the Arirang Mass games, a mega display of artistic performances usually held in August, at the Rungrado May Day Stadium. With a seating capacity of 120,000, the stadium is said to be the largest stadium in the world by capacity with an exit system that empties the stadium of people within 20 minutes.

Some say the performance rivals the Beijing Olympics opening. Though not as technologically advanced, the sheer coordination and mass participation is an impressive spectacle: the ever changing backdrop is made up of students holding up coloured cards, and there are probably more participants than members of the audience. The mass games is a source of national pride for the people and in the eyes of foreigners, propaganda. But then aren’t most celebrations of nationalistic proportions propaganda driven in nature?

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