The Day of The Shining
Star, Kim Jong Il Birthday|
North Korean Holidays

16 February marks The Day of the Shining Star, one of the biggest celebrations in North Korea celebrating General Kim Jong Il's birthday.

16 February, The Day of the Shining Star

The Day of the Shining Star (광명성절, 光明星節), along with the Day of the Sun, is one of the biggest celebrations in North Korea. This also means it's one of the best times to visit North Korea.

Note: 'The Day of the Sun' phrase is no longer actively used in North Korea. Instead, it is now referred to only as Kim Il Sung's Birthday.


The Day of the Shining Star (광명성절, 光明星節) takes place on the 16th February and has been celebrated in North Korea since 1982. This is a national holiday for North Koreans and is one of the most important dates in their calendar. The holiday lasts for 2 days - not as long as celebrations for the Day of the Sun, but celebrations are similar.

The Kimjongilia flower, bred by Japanese botanists for Kim Jong Il, is cultivated to flower on this date.

Kim Jong Il is associated with the image of a star, and can also be referred to as 'shining star' or 'bright star'. According to legend, the night he was born on Mt Paektu (16th February 1942) a bright star shone in the sky.

Visit North Korea for the Day of the Shining Star

The biggest celebrations take place in the capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang.
We offer various tours that have us in Pyongyang for the celebrations, and we're the first to make sure that if something is happening, we'll be there to join in the fun too!

Celebrations vary each year, but they can include a mixture of the following;

- Mass dance celebrations
- Fireworks
- Circus performances
- Kimilsungia / Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition, exhibition for the Kimjongilia Flower.

This is a day off for the North Koreans, and one of the most important dates in their calendar. They spend the Day of the Shining Star visiting locations of historical importance to Kim Jong Il and may go to the Mansudae Grand Monument statues to lay flowers and pay their respects.

Mass Dancing during the Day of the Shining Star celebrations. You can join in the dancing too... If you dare!

Koryo Tours arranges group tours for the Day of the Shining Star annually and can also arrange private independent tours for the holiday. We make sure that we are there for all of the celebrations possible, and can join in with the locals as they celebrate this important date in their calendar.

Book early; transport tickets sell out!, and you don't want to miss out on this North Korean holiday!

Further reading:

Day of the Sun, 15th April
North Korean holiday celebrating the birthday of President Kim Il Sung


Zoe Stephens

Zoe is the marketing manager and a tour leader at Koryo Tours.

Her love of meeting new people and exploring new cultures has led her to study several languages including German, Japanese, and Chinese. Having lived in several different countries across 4 continents, she often writes about languages and culture in her blogs and is very active on social media. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was 'stuck' in Tonga for 1.5 years after a weekend away. Ask her for some stories! 

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