North Korea celebrates birthday of current leader's father, Kim Jong Il

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — North Korea marked the national holiday of late leader Kim Jong Il’s birthday with modest celebratory events compared to the past.

Its current leader, Kim Jong Un, paid tribute to his late father’s mausoleum at Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang on Friday just after midnight, its state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The mausoleum is for the ruling Kim family, preserving the founder of North Korea and grandfather of Kim Jong Un, Kim Il Sung. The trip by Kim Jong Un and several high-ranking officials is an annual anniversary trip.

This year, the list of accompanying officials included party officials — but no military officials, according to the state news report.

The national holiday is called “Day of the Shining Star” in Korean because North Korea’s officially approved story insists that a glowing new star and a double rainbow appeared when Kim Jong Il was born in 1942 on Baekdu Mountain, a cherished mountain to the Koreans.

But outside, historians agree that Kim Il Sung and his wife were in a refugee camp in the Soviet Union at the time of Kim Jong Il’s birth.

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