In the run-up to the anniversary of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's death on Dec. 17, the secretive East Asian nation has scheduled various tributes to the "Dear Leader."
While the country's veneration of deceased supreme leaders tends to strike Westerners as cultish and strange, the most bizarre tribute to surface recently may be one devoted to Kim Jong Il's "threadbare and discolored" parka.
"One year has passed since everything writhed in agony and the people's wailing swept the whole country at the thunderbolt-like news that Kim Jong Il, on the forced march of high intensity for the people, had passed away on the running train in December last year," begins the message released by Voice of Korea, the international broadcasting service of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Formerly known as Radio Pyongyang, Voice of Korea broadcasts information in a multitude of languages.
While the poignancy of some metaphors might be lost in translation, the broadcast's devotion to the parka as a symbol of revolutionary struggle minces no words. The transmission retells a story in which Kim Jong Il explained that the parka was a reminder of the "grim history" of the "arduous march after the demise of President Kim Il Sung."
The shapeless parka, which the broadcast claims Kim Jong Il wore for 10 years, was touted by North Korean media as a "most valuable and noble item" and an international symbol of the Dear Leader.
“People around the world are attracted to and following not only the jacket our Great Leader is wearing, but also his attitude, facial expressions, hand gestures, and even his handwriting,” according to an ABC News translation of a 2010 article that appeared in North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
Kim Jong Il's funeral was accompanied by mass displays of public mourning. During the mourning period after the late leader's death, North Koreans were reportedly forbidden to take part in pleasurable activities, such as drinking alcohol. Earlier this year, high-ranking North Korean officials were reportedly purged or executed for allegedly drinking alcohol or becoming involved in sex scandals.
Take a look at Kim Jong Il wearing his parka in the photos below: