China on Friday marked the 115th birth anniversary of its revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.
Thousands of people gathered at the square near Mao's birth place Shaoshan village after midnight to cherish the memory of the "Great Helmsman" who led the nation to found New China in 1949 and served as top leader until he died in 1976.
People paid tribute in front of Mao's 10.1-meter-tall bronze statue -- many presented bouquets and some brought birthday cakes. Most people hummed along as "The East is Red", a song in tribute of Mao, was being played.
Mao's grandson, Mao Xinyu, was also in the crowd to pay his tribute.
Nearly every Shaoshan villager had noodles for breakfast Friday, a traditional Chinese food to celebrate birthdays as people believe long noodles bring long lives.
"Chairman Mao is always alive in our hearts and we eat his birthday noodles every year," said village official Mao Yushi.
Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 citizens in Shaoshan marked the day with a marathon race starting from Mao's former residence across town.
Shaoshan, now labelled a landmark in China's modern history, receives millions of people from home and overseas every year.
In Beijing, nearly 20,000 people visited Mao's mausoleum on Tian'anmen Square.
Chairman Mao was born Dec 26, 1893 and died Sep 9, 1976.