Arirang Fan Dancers

Arirang Fan Dancers

Arirang, better known as the Mass Games (officially The Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang) is the largest event of its kind. I went in 2009 on my second trip to North Korea, and figuring I might never see this again, bought the way overpriced VIP ticket, which was not much better than a ticket half its price. Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance in the giant Rungnado May Day Stadium, which is the largest stadium in the world by capacity, that is currently in operation (capacity: 150,000).

Today's Photo - Arirang Fan Dance

I'm by no means an expert in North Korean iconography, but what you don't see in this particular photo is the red sun rising above Mt. Paekdu in the background, symbolizing the Eternal President, Kim Il-Sung. Look at how organized and well choreographed everyone looks!

Large number of performers in the Arirang Mass Games. Pyongyang, North Korea.

Arirang Mosaic of the North Korean Flag

I uploaded a couple of other Arirang photos to flickr before I created Aisle Seat Please, which I'm reposting below.

Throughout the performance, over 30,000 students holding up colored cards create various photo mosaics, such as the Flag of North Korea depicted here. Watching the mass games live is truly a unique experience. It's kind of like the opening to the Olympics. Yet, it somehow feels a bit more intimate, even though the sheer number of performers is quantifiably massive!

Mosaic of the North Korean Flag

Korean Symbols of Wealth and Good Luck

While watching the performance, eventually these towering dancing pigs came out. Next thing you know, a bunch of little [human sized] pigs rush out from under the skirt of the giant pigs and start dancing as well.

Performers dressed as pigs and piglets alike take part in the Arirang Mass Games.