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ICC Note: April 15 is known as the “Day of the Sun” and celebrated as the most important holiday in North Korea, as it is the birthday of the country’s founder Kim Il-Sung. Despite his death in 1994, Kim remains the country’s Eternal President. Everything about him is deified, with his birthday referred to as “birthdaymas,” and his writings and teachings seen as holy and authoritative.  

04/15/2018 North Korea (Channel News Asia) – Thousands of North Korean devotees on Sunday (Apr 15) laid flowers before statues of the country’s founder Kim Il Sung on the anniversary of his birth.

A constant stream of soldiers in brown uniforms, work unit personnel in suits, schoolchildren and families made their way to Mansu hill in the centre of Pyongyang, where giant statues of Kim and his son and successor look out over the capital.

“The great comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il will always be with us,” read a banner made of greenery.

In turn each group approached the bronze edifices, most people with single blooms, some carrying golden baskets of flowers – making their offerings before assembling in formation.

“Let us bow before the statues,” intoned an announcer half-hidden by horticulture, prompting deep bows from civilians and salutes from military detachments.

North Koreans are taught from an early age to revere their leaders, and portraits of the two late rulers gaze down in every home, school and workplace in the country.

Current leader Kim Jong Un is the third of the dynasty to head the isolated and impoverished but nuclear-armed country, whose calendar is packed with anniversaries relating to his two forefathers and their careers.

The accompanying rituals both demonstrate and reinforce loyalty to the regime. Apr 15, known as the Day of the Sun, is by far the most important and sometimes marked with a military parade, as it was last year.

Visiting the statues reinforced her determination to “realise the reunification of our country which the great leaders wanted” and “uphold the leadership of the respected Marshal Kim Jong Un”, said Second Lieutenant Ryu Yong Jong, 25, who has been in the army for nine years.

Ordinary North Koreans only ever express wholehearted support for their government when speaking to foreign media.

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