North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army Tuesday, a significant date in the country’s calendar.
The day is marked with a public holiday, and despite the USS Michigan, one of the US’ most powerful submarines, arriving in South Korea Tuesday in an apparent show of force, there was no sign of tension in Pyongyang as North Koreans took to the streets to celebrate.
CNN is in the country now and captured some of the holiday activity.
Mansugyo cafe is buzzing with people enjoying the seven different kinds of beer on offer and making the most of a rare day off.
This popular “beer parlour” was famously visited by President Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il in 1974.
The cafe has been around for decades and offers up local delicacies, like dried pollock, washed down with a beer made entirely of rice.
In the supermarkets, there’s very little choice in what food people can purchase, with only a few local products available. Most shops carry the same cans, and shelves are largely stocked with goods imported from China.
And despite North Korea being a socialist country, while some goods are distributed freely, many are still purchased with cash.
If you’re in Pyongyang and have the cash, “Junko” bar is the place to go. The tropically themed bar and coffee shop is in a hotel that’s popular with Chinese tourists and affluent locals, and a cocktail there can set you back a cool $13.50 US.
Despite current tensions running high, tourists are still visiting the secretive nation.
As is customary on national holidays, students perform an hour-long mass choreographed dance routine to celebrate army day while tourists look on.
On a public holiday, or any other special occasion, Pyongyang’s citizens also celebrate by dancing in the streets wearing formal, colorful clothing.
Known as Hanbok in South Korea, this form of traditional dress is called Joson Ot in the North.
Adults, especially men, traditionally dress very uniformly in North Korea.
Children, however, can often be seen in colorful clothing – mostly imported from China.
There are signs that some younger people might be trying to modernize their dress, but as a rule, as an adult, there doesn’t seem to be much desire to stand out from the crowd.
Like everywhere in the world, little boys can be seen sporting small guns as toys.
But this is especially true in this militarized nation, where even nurseries are full of toy tanks, missiles and guns, as well as books and stuffed animals.
There are a number of events and military ceremonies over the course of the day marking the 85th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, and convoys of military personnel take to the streets, greeted by waving citizens.
There are also a number of propaganda posters hanging in Pyongyang that celebrate the regime. Some are specifically up for army day, others adorn the streets all year.