North Korea Marks Anniversary Of Prior Ruler's Death With 11-Day Ban On Laughing

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 19, 2021 - 12:55 AM

North Korea is marking the 10th anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-Il's death in somewhat characteristically bizarre ways, with dictates from Pyongyang saying citizens must mourn on a "unified" front that includes a ban on laughing for 11 days.

More than mere commemorative moments of silence, all instances of general enjoyment have been banned during the week-and-a-half period, including shopping, recreation, and alcohol consumption. Even going for groceries is on the list of banned activities, according to Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service.

Mourning ceremony for NK's prior dictator. AFP via Getty Images

"During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities," a resident of the northeastern city of Sinuiju was cited in the US state-funded publication as saying. The source added that "In the past many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals. They were taken away and never seen again."

"Even if your family member dies during the mourning period, you are not allowed to cry out loud and the body must be taken out after it’s over," the source told RFA further. "People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period."

While RFA is an American government-linked media agency, and so the report should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt, this type of strict mourning is somewhat common in many Eastern cultures from the Levant to East Asia, at least on a local level and within families. But strict dictates imposed on a national scale is something perhaps only common to the DPRK.

Dubbed by Pyongyang officials "the parent of our people," Kim Jong Ill's death anniversary commemoration ceremony observed in the capital included the following according to NY Post...

Cars, trains and ships blew their horns, the Hermit Kingdom’s flags were lowered to half-staff and people flocked to Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill to lay flowers and bow before giant statues of Kim Jong Il and his father, Kim Il Sung, who ruled for 46 years.

Image source: KCNA/KNS

Kim Jong Un participates in annual tributes to his late father, Kim Jong-il, who died on December 17, 2011 - reportedly of a heart attack at the age of 69.