December 05, 2023

Is North Korea’s 9/9 Foundation Day its most important holiday?

In terms of large celebrations, the holiday lacks a clear pattern over last 70 years

People are so accustomed to a country's main holiday being their foundation day or independence day that some media and even tour companies that work with the North occasionally report that September 9 in North Korea – their national foundation day – is the country’s “main national holiday.” Like the statement that Kim Yong Nam is somehow the country’s “de-jure head of state,” this sort of became another dubious-but-accepted fact about the country.

In fact, however, it is Kim Jong Un who is the head of state and Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s birthdays are the country’s most important holidays. September 9 is not usually given the top priority in the country – as one can see from this piece, which shows how it has been celebrated over the years.