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David Guttenfelder, Associated Press
North Koreans arrive at a monument of Kim Il Sung to pay their respects at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday April 14, 2011. People began to celebrate on the eve of 99th anniversary of Kim Il Sung's birthday. April 15 is called "The Day of the Sun" in honor of the former guerrilla fighter who founded North Korea in 1948.

PYONGYANG, North Korea — The flags are up and the streets of North Korea's capital are lined with flowers as the nation prepares to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year: the birthday of late President Kim Il Sung.

April 15 is called "The Day of the Sun" in honor of the man who founded North Korea in 1948 and maintains godlike status in the country now led by his son, Kim Jong Il.

It's a time for North Koreans to relax with friends and family. But it's also an occasion to rally national pride as the country undergoes a sensitive leadership transition and as tensions with the outside world persist.

North Koreans are arriving in droves to lay bouquets at the towering bronze statue of Kim Jong Il in central Pyongyang.