Kim Jong Un’s birthday still not a holiday

The cover of North Korea’s official 2016 calendar,
obtained by Daily NK. Image: Daily NK

We have gotten confirmation that Kim Jong
Un’s birthday has been marked as a normal weekday and not as a national holiday
on North Korea’s official 2016 calendar. There was a lot of speculation that
his birthday would be designated a national holiday this year since it has been
a full five years since his ascendancy to power, but these expectations did not
come to fruition. 

Daily NK has acquired a copy of the 2016
calendar, in which Kim Il
Sung’s birthday, Kim Jong Il’s birthday, Chuseok, and New Years are all
highlighted in red to indicate their status as official national holidays. January
8th, however, remains in black print, with no special markings or reference to
advertise Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

In the month of February, “We will go to
Mount Baekdu” is written in calligraphy. Accompanying this is another
propaganda phrase “To Mount Baektu, Mount Baektu, the home of my heart .”
Incidentally, both phrases are also the titles of oft-performed songs in North
Korea. The inclusion of this phrase is meant to legitimize Kim Jong Un’s
authority as the rightful heir to the Kim Dynasty.  

In the past when Kim Il Sung rose to power,
the calendar marked his birthday (April 15th) with the expression ‘The Future
of Chosun (North Korea).’ When Kim Jong Il inherited the throne, his birthday (February 16th)
was marked with the phrase, ‘The Spring of Humanity.’”

An inside source from North Pyongan
Province said, “According to North Korean propaganda, the birthdays of Kim Jong
Il and Kim Il Sung serve as the start of history and the launching pad for the
future. This is carefully crafted propaganda to reinforce the idolization of
the leaders. Although January 8th is not yet marked as a holiday at this point,
history suggests that there will be a shift of emphasis away from February and
March and towards January in the future.”

She added, “If we break down the calendar
by its twelve constituent months, we can see that February and April have three
holidays apiece, while January only has Solar New Year’s. However, Solar New
Year’s is typically used as a day to prepare manure to support rural villages,
so it’s not even really fair to say that counts as a day of relaxation. The
month of Kim Jong Un’s birthday, then, does not have a single true holiday.”

When asked about the reasons Kim Jong Un’s
birthday is not yet considered a holiday, the source said, “I think this is a
reflection of his style. Kim Jong Un has a very particular personality. He
wants to use propaganda to differentiate himself from his father. It seems as
if he is purposefully trying to use propaganda not only to support idolization,
but also to stimulate the people’s loyalty by showing his ‘love’ for them.”

Just like last year’s calendar, Kim Jong
Un’s appointment as Chairman of the National Defense Commission (4.13) and as
First Secretary of the Workers’ Party (4.11) are not marked as national holidays. Instead, these occasions are inserted as simple explanations beneath
the calendar.

The day when “the great leader Comrade Kim
Jong Il started work at the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea,”
designated as a public holiday in 2015, falls on a Sunday this year, meaning
that is is not possible to confirm that this remains a holiday. This ambiguity also applies to Labor day, celebrated on May 1st.

Mother’s Day (November 16th) is still plainly marked as a holiday as are Solar New Year’s Day (1.1), Lunar New
Year’s Day (2.8), Chuseok (9.15), and Chungmyung Day (4.4).

When all the Sundays and holidays on the
2016 calendar are tallied up, the total is 67 days. There is also a Leap Day on
February 29th this year, which comes only once every three years.   

<2016 public and traditional holidays in
North Korea>

January: Solar New Year’s Day (1.1) 

February: Lunar New Year’s Day (2.8); Birth date of Kim Jong Il (“Gwangmyungsung
Day”/Day of the Shining Star) (2.16); 
January 15th in the Lunar Calendar, (first
full moon of the lunar new year, 2.22)

March: International Women’s Day (3.8); 

April: Chungmyung Day (4.4); Birth date of
Kim Il Sung (“Taeyang Day”/Day of the Sun) (4.15); Korean People’s
Army Foundation Day (4.25)

May: Labor Day (5.1 Sunday, therefore not
confirmed as holiday)

June: Korean Children’s Union Foundation
Day (6.6)

July:  “Day of Victory in the
Fatherland Liberation War” (7.27)

August: Liberation Day (8.15); Day of
Songun (8.25)

September: National Day (9.9); Chuseok

October: Party Foundation Day (10.10)

November: Mother’s Day (11.16) 

December:Constitution Day (12.27) 

*The content of this article was broadcast to the North Korean people via Unification Media Group

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