Many North Koreans were surprised to find that a recently published North Korean calendar omitted the images of the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia, two flowers traditionally used to mark the birthdays of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Most North Korean publishing companies have printed images of a Kimjongilia on their February pages to mark Kim Jong Il’s birthday and, on their April pages, a Kimilsungia to mark Kim Il Sung’s birthday.
“February and April are usually accompanied by Kimjongilias, Kimilsuingias, or yellow rhododendrons from Mount Paektu, but none of these are anywhere to be seen in this year’s calendar,” a source told Daily NK. “Many people were surprised that the publishing company [the Korea Publications Export Import Corporation] used a pink rose and the words ‘propose’ in English on the February page instead.”
“The publishing company may have thought it better to include the image of flower that is popular among the public rather than one used for regime propaganda,” added the source. “That may suggest they are sensitive to criticisms from abroad about exaggerated idolization of the regime’s leaders.”
According to the calendar, around 200 rose varieties—including around 60 breeds gifted to the Kim family by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan and other countries—are cultivated in North Korea.