PYONGYANG, North Korea: North Koreans have been ordered by the government to abstain from laughter or drinking alcohol for an 11-day period to observe the 10th anniversary of the death of ex-leader Kim Jong Il.
It is, indeed, no laughing matter, as government officials have instructed people to steer clear from exhibiting any form of joy while North Korea observes the anniversary of Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Il’s rule in North Korea lasted 17 years, until his death in 2011. Thereafter, Kim Jong Un, the youngest of his children, was the successor and still rules.
“During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh, or engage in leisure activities,” a resident of Sinuiju, North Korea, told Radio Free Asia.
The Sinuiju resident stated that people from North Korea are also prohibited to shop for groceries on 17th December, the date of the former leader’s death.
“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,” according to another source.
“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,” they said.
Kim Jong Il, 69, succumbed to a heart attack on the 17th of December, 2011, following a 17-year dictatorial ruling marked by ruthlessness and suppression.
Although a 10-day mourning period is held annually for the former leader, it will be observed for 11 days in 2021.