The state funeral of Kim Jong-il was delayed by four hours due to heavy snow fall. However, North Korean officials interpreted this as a sign that the very skies were crying in grief.
Multitudes of mourners wept and wailed as the funeral cortege of Kim Jong-il, "Dear Leader" of North Korea, passed through the snow covered streets of Pyongyang. Not surprisingly the official news agency took the opportunity to link the snowfall with Kim's funeral, saying "The feathery snowfall reminds the Korean people of the snowy day when the leader was born in the secret camp of Mount Paektu and of the great revolutionary career that he followed through snowdrifts. It seems the sky knows well of how much he got snowed on during his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the happiness of the people." (The Guardian)
A massive portrait of the "Dear Leader" was carried by a black limousine, leading the cortege. The body of Kim, encased in its glass coffin, was carried on top of another limousine which Kim's heir, Kim Jong-um, walked beside, glove-less and hat-less despite the cold. According to Fox News there was no sign of Kim's other two sons, Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Chol, that have not been groomed for succession.
The state showed its generosity to the people by arranging to distribute cups of hot water to mourners overcome by the cold temperatures. The massive military presence was even stronger than that at the funeral of Kim's father in 1994.
The citizens of North Korea will be allowed to cease their mandatory wailing and prostrations of grief on Dec. 29 when the official period of mourning ends.