What are the 6 biggest Holidays in North Korea?

North Korea famously likes to celebrate a good holiday. Usually they do this several times per year. Think of goose stepping soldiers, military parades, mass dances and fireworks. You know; classic North Korean imagery. Without a doubt, the DPRK likes to put on a show. Military parades, however, are only reserved for big anniversary celebrations (50th, 75th anniversary etc) which change each year. Typically for a non anniversary event you can expect a mass dance, concert event, locals celebrating in parks and a fireworks display. So what are the main holidays in North Korea and when should you travel there to celebrate with the locals?

1. Day of the Sun

April 15th – the biggest day in the North Korean calendar. This is the birthday of North Korean founder and Eternal President Kim Il Sung. Big events take place around the country such as mass performances, exhibitions and concerts. Citizens are given two days off and receive extra rations of more luxury foods like meat & eggs. It’s basically the North Korean equivalent of Christmas.

See it for yourself on our annual Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour. You can also combo this holiday up with the Pyongyang marathon which takes place on the same week!

Kim Il Sung Square

2. Victory Day

July 27th – This commemorates the victory over the Americans in the Fatherland Liberation War (Korean War)  in 1953. North Koreans have a different version of the events of this war. The narrative there is that the war was provoked by the Americans and that victory was eventually achieved by the North. Check out our Victory Day Tour or even travel to the remote volcano of Mount Paektu on our Victory Day & Mount Paektu Tour.

3. Liberation Day

August 15th – This marks the Liberation of Korea from Imperial Japan in 1945. The Korean peninsula had long been brutally occupied by Japan throughout the early 20th Century. The holiday is marked in both North & South Korea.

See our Liberation Day Tour for more info.

Kim Il Sung displayed by 20,000 North Koreans during the Mass Games

4. Party Foundation Day

October 10th – This marks the founding of the Worker’s Party of Korea. North Korea’s ruling party since 1945. This day typically sees huge celebrations every 5 years with 2020 being the 75th anniversary

Check out our Party Foundation Day blog and tour.

5. National Day

September 9th – This marks the founding of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in 1948. Only 3 years after Liberation of Korea from the Japanese empire.

Rocky Road Travel run an annual National Day tour with an added trip to the lesser visited North East part of the country!

6. Mayday

May 1st – International workers day is marked throughout much of the world. It’s a big family friendly one in North Korea. There’s a lot going on in the parks and recreational areas with games, singing and dancing going on. The weather is starting to warm up too so it’s a perfect time to travel to North Korea.

Check out our May Day tour itinerary! It’s a big one with three different tour length options that take you all over the DPRK.

Day of the Shining Star, North Korean mass dance

Usually one of these events takes centre stage depending on the year. For example in 2020 it’s the 75th anniversary of Liberation and Party Foundation so these two dates will be huge.

When do you want to travel? Get in touch and we’ll let you know which North Korean holiday you should attend!

Rocky road travel founder Shane Horan at the DMZ


When Shane is not endlessly writing award winning content for Rocky Road, he’s usually kayaking to and from work along Berlin’s River Spree.