On the birthdays of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, items that are not normally available are for sale.
It is a “gift” from the leader to the residents.
Meat in Pyongyang, not to mention the provinces, is usually sold twice a year on the largest national holidays, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s birthdays. One kilo of pork costs seven won, three chicken costs 80 won.Beef is rarely sold on holidays.
Complicated procedures are required to obtain this grateful “gift”. First you have to go to the store, go to the woman holding the thick ledger in the corner and show your ID.
The inspector checks this against the ledger and, for example, marks the sale of meat in the shopping notebook, and returns the buyer’s opinion there. Only then can the buyer get a ticket and pay for the goods.
(Alexander Zhebin, “The Kim Dynasty I See,” )
Kim Jong Il, who has inherited power from Kim Il Sung, uses this “gift” to maintain the loyalty of the inhabitants as in the Kim Il Sung era.
Many stores in Pyongyang were open all night from February 15th to 16th, 1990. A long line is lined up in front of the seller, and on this holiday stuck inside the store, you can buy a “gift” that you can buy a little more than usual distribution with a simple payment. Under the strict ticket system, which has been maintained for decades, meat and sugar, macaroni and canned meat can be purchased slightly more than other foods on both birthdays. A bottle of sake, two boxes of cigarettes, one kilogram of confectionery, two packs of seasoning, 15 won and 60 choong together-this is about 199 o’clock on February 16, 1930. It was a product that most shoppers could get. Such special sales are also held on the day before Kim Il-sung’s birthday, but the number of special items on the day before Kim Jong-il’s birthday in 1990 was much greater than the number and quantity of Kim Il-sung’s special items. This was intended to inform the public that Kim Jong Il’s life would never be worse than his father’s. (Ibid.)
Gifts aren’t just for adults.
North Korean children do not celebrate birthdays. However, the two birthdays of Kim Il Sung on April 15 and Kim Jong Il on February 16 are different. It is also a national holiday, and it is only this day that meat comes into the food being distributed. Later, when the energy crisis became more serious, only these two days became accessible. A few days before each birthday, the Labor Party distributes nearly one kilogram of sweets to each child. Contains all kinds of sweets-biscuits, jellies, chocolate and chewing gum.
You must not do anything until your birthday, but some mothers break the ban.（Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea）