High-ranking government officials, military officers, and about 100,000 civilians attended the ceremony on a central square in the capital, Pyongyang.
Mourners mostly wearing black winter coats, stood in silence in the square.
Kim Jong Un, who will take over the reins of power in the reclusive state, listened as senior officials eulogized his father.
Shortly afterward, sirens blared across the country marking the official end to the mourning period following Kim's death of heart failure on December 17 at the age of 69.
Kim Yong-nam, head of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's assembly, was quoted by Reuters as saying at the memorial that "our great comrade Kim Jong Il has solved the leadership succession matter perfectly, which is the most precious accomplishment for our country's destiny and endless prosperity of our descendants."
Many observers believe that Kim Jong Il's "military first" policy will continue under his son's rule, leading to further hardship in a country that endured mass starvation in the 1990s.
North Koreans lined the streets on December 28 for a state funeral procession in which a hearse with Kim's casket and a huge portrait of Kim rolled through the square.
compiled from agency reports