The Flag of North Korea: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Flag of North Korea
© Naypong Studio/

Written by Heather Hall

Published: December 8, 2022

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Where is North Korea?

North Korea is located in East Asia and is bordered by China, South Korea, and Russia. The country occupies a mountainous peninsula on the continent’s eastern coast, with the Sea of Japan to the east, the Yellow Sea to the west, and the Korean Strait connecting the two bodies of water.

The country was officially founded in 1948 when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was proclaimed. North Korea is officially known as the DPRK and is also referred to as the Hermit Kingdom, due to its isolation from much of the world.

What is the Geography and Climate of North Korea?

North Korea is a mountainous country with most of the population living in the plains and lowlands. The highest point in the country is Mount Paektu, with an elevation of 9,003 feet. The climate of North Korea consists of continental, monsoon, and semi-arid zones. The continental zone is characterized by cold winters and hot, humid summers. The monsoon zone is cooler and drier, while the semi-arid zone is hot and dry.

The average temperatures in North Korea vary depending on the season. During winter, temperatures drop to as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer, they can rise up to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The country experiences four distinct seasons: Spring (March-May), Summer (June-August), Autumn (September-November), and Winter (December-February). It typically experiences a wet monsoon season from July to mid-September and is especially humid in the southern parts of the country. The winters are cold but dry, while summers are hot and humid, with occasional heavy rains bringing thunderstorms and typhoon downpours, which occur mainly between August and October.

What are the Languages and Religions of North Korea?

The official language of North Korea is Korean, although some dialects vary from region to region. Other languages spoken in the country include Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. North Korea is an atheist state, and freedom of religion is not officially recognized. However, some people practice Buddhism, Christianity, and other faiths in private.

What is the Culture and Cuisine of North Korea?

The culture of North Korea is heavily influenced by traditional Korean culture, which is rooted in Confucianism. This means that the nation has a strong emphasis on respect for authority and tradition, as well as filial piety. As a result, family values are very important in North Korea, and the elderly are traditionally respected within society. The culture also places emphasis on collectivism over individualism, with loyalty to the state being highly valued.

Other aspects of traditional Korean culture include art forms such as calligraphy and painting; musical instruments like drums and string instruments; martial arts like taekwondo; cuisine such as kimchi; holidays such as Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving); folk tales and legends; poetry; literature; dance styles including salpuri (which originated from shamanic rituals) and pansori (a type of narrative singing).

North Korean cuisine is based on rice, noodles, and vegetables and is seasoned with a variety of condiments and sauces. Popular dishes include bulgogi (barbecued beef), kimchi (fermented cabbage), and bibimbap (mixed rice and vegetables).

Current Political Structure of North Korea

North Korea is a single-party state ruled by the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP). The current leader of North Korea is Kim Jong Un, who assumed power in 2011. The country is a totalitarian state, and its citizens have few rights and freedoms.

Flag of North Korea: Description

Flag of North Korea

The North Korean flag is red in the middle and blue at the top edge and bottom edge.

©Katherine Welles/

The flag of North Korea is a red banner consisting of a thick red band running horizontally from end to end. The red area is bordered by a thin white stripe above and below. The top edge and bottom edge of the flag are each bright blue. Toward the left (pole side) of the flag is a white circle. Inside the white circle is a red five-point star.

Flag of North Korea: Symbolism

The flag of North Korea is a symbol of the country’s history and ideology, and there are several descriptions of the meaning of the flag. Originally, the prominent red star was a universal symbol of the communist and socialist nature of the North Korean constitution. Since then, all references to communism have been removed from the country’s legal documents.

More recently, The Korean Friendship Association believes that the red star stands for the revolutionary traditions of North Korea and that the red panel stands for patriotism and the determination and persistence of the Korean people. The white stripe represents the unity of the people and the culture. The blue stripes symbolize the desire to fight for independence, peace, friendship, and international unity.

According to anĀ official documentĀ released by Kim II-sung, the red symbolizes the blood shed by Korean patriots and the invincible might of the Korean people. The white is for one bloodline, one land, one language, and one culture. The blue stands for the spirit of the Korean people who are fighting for world peace and progress.

Whichever meaning you attribute to the flag, red, white, and blue are the North Korean national colors. They stand for purity, strength, dignity, peace, and friendship.

Flag of North Korea: Variations

Before the current flag of North Korea was adopted in 1948, the country used several different flags. The previous flags included the flag for the Korean People’s Army (and Air Force and Navy), the flag for the Workers’ Party of Korea, and a flag for the Supreme Commander of the KPA (Kim John-un).

Does North Korea have a National Anthem?

Yes, North Korea has a national anthem, “Aegukka,” which means Patriotism Song. It was written in 1945 and adopted in 1947. The anthem is a patriotic song written at a time when the country celebrated independence from Japanese occupation.

Liberation Day In North Korea

Liberation Day in North Korea is a national holiday that is celebrated annually on August 15th. It marks the anniversary of Japan’s surrender to Allied forces at the end of World War II, which resulted in an end to Japanese rule over Korea and its eventual division into two separate countries: North and South Korea.

During this special day, citizens are encouraged to remember those who sacrificed their lives during the war while also celebrating their country’s independence from foreign control. Parades are held throughout cities, and monuments such as Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang are decorated with flags or banners commemorating Liberation Day. In addition to parades and ceremonies, traditional Korean dishes such as kimchi or bulgogi may be served at celebratory banquets among friends and family members alike.

In more recent years, Liberation Day has also become a time when North Koreans are encouraged to show gratitude towards their nation’s leader. Kim Jong Un is known to make appearances at the parade or other events held in his honor on this day, which may include fireworks and military displays of strength. Even though some aspects of the holiday have changed over time, its purpose remains largely unchanged: celebrating independence and honoring those who fought for it.

The North Korea National Football Team

The North Korean national football team, also known as Chollima, represents the country in international competitions. The team has participated in several FIFA World Cup qualifications since 1986. They are currently ranked 112th by FIFA and are coached by Yun Jong-Su.

The Chollima is known for its relentless defensive style of play and has achieved some impressive results against more well-established teams such as Italy and Brazil. They are sponsored primarily by the state-run Korea Football Association (KFA), which promotes sports activities across the country. In addition to football, other popular sports amongst North Koreans include basketball, volleyball, taekwondo, judo, and wrestling.

North Korea participates in the World Cup and the Olympics. North Korea first participated in the Olympic Games in 1972 when they sent a delegation to Munich. In addition, they have competed at every Summer Olympics since then, except for 1984 and 1988. They also made their debut at the FIFA World Cup in 1966. Since then, they have qualified twice more (in 2014 and 2018). North Korean football leagues continue to grow in popularity and skill level.


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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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