North Koreans have been forbidden from laughing for 11 days in honor of Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, who died ten years ago.
Besides, Citizens must refrain from shopping, recreation on the anniversary day itself—December 17.
“During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities,” a resident of the northeastern city of Sinuiju told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service.
“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,” the source told RFA.
“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. People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period.”
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.
Hundreds of officials were also seen with Kim Jong Un outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang’s capital, NY Post reported.
When Kim Jong Il’s father, national founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994, he was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il. He controlled North Korea until he died in 2011, after which his son, current leader Kim Jong Un, took over.
According to some estimations, Kim Jong Il’s reign coincided with one of the deadliest periods in North Korean history, the 1994-1998 famine, which killed millions of people. North Koreans now refer to the period as the “Arduous March.”
Although both leaders have annual times of mourning, Kim Il Sung’s only lasts a week. Because Kim Jong Il died recently, a 10-day mourning period is customary. Furthermore, it’s the tenth anniversary, this year is slightly lengthier.
According to another source, the protracted mourning period disrupts North Koreans’ regular lives.
“I just hope that the mourning period for Kim Jong Il will be shortened to one week, just like the mourning period for Kim Il Sung,” said this source. “Residents are complaining that the living is forced to mourn these two dead people to death.”