North Korea will celebrate the founding anniversary of its armed forces on Friday. But unlike in 2018, a military parade will not be part of the celebrations this year. 

According to an official from South Korea's unification ministry, the North will hold events related to the anniversary but on a smaller scale, unlike last year when it showed off its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which can strike the continental U.S. There will be a speech by the minister of People’s Armed Forces about the army’s victories under the leadership of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The country holds military parades on days of national importance to flex its military power by displaying its newly developed weapons including missiles and other ballistic equipment. 

Feb. 8 commemorates the formation of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in 1948. Though the armed forces have existed since 1945, it was in 1948 that Moscow decided to call it an official army and had their first parade the same year on Feb. 8, which fell on a Sunday. Initially, though the parade created certain ideological difficulties in the North since it was one of the final few events where the traditional Korean flag of Great Extremes was used. 

However in 1978, the holiday was moved to April 25, the date when Kim Jong Il founded the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army in 1932. Till 2015, the Army Day was celebrated on April 25 when Kim Jong Un decided to restart the Feb. 8 celebrations as a mark of his new era of leadership of the nation. 

Until 2018, the day was celebrated without parades. In 2018, it was celebrated with a parade showcasing tanks and military vehicles. The parade also featured coastal defense cruise missiles, six solid-fuel, short-range ballistic missiles and the ICBM.

The North Koreans usually celebrate only the fifth or tenth anniversaries of certain events. This was because Koreans believe the number four is a symbol of bad luck since the pronunciation of the number sounds similar to a word meaning death in the Chinese characters. Even in elevators, the letter "F" indicates the fourth floor instead of the number.

Kim and his entire family believe the number nine is lucky for them, which could be why the foundation day of the nation is observed on Sept. 9. It is believed that after Korea liberated from Japanese occupations, one of the eight shamans representing the eight provinces of Korea told his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, that the dynasty was aligned to the number nine, which was already considered lucky in the continent of Asia.

The family also reportedly ensured that all their major appearances and nationally important days fell on dates that add up to nine.