South Korea mass wedding attracts thousands despite virus fears

Over 30,000 people from around the world on Friday gathered for a mass wedding at the Cheong Shim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul.

According to the church, among them were 6,000 new couples getting married, while the others were renewing vows and some were just watching.

The mass weddings are a well-known feature of the South Korea-based church, but the spread of the new coronavirus, first reported in China, has cast a pall over many public events.

Church staff prepared hand sanitizer, handed out surgical masks and checked couples’ temperature.

South Korean groom Lee Kwon-seok was excited to join thousands of other couples in the latest mass wedding performed by South Korea’s Unification Church but he and his bride weren’t taking any chances amid the coronavirus outbreak.

They brought their own surgical masks to wear, his black to match his suit, and hers white to match her dress.

In the end, only a few couples wore masks at the wedding ceremony, which was overseen by Hak Ja Han Moon, wife of the founder of the Unification Church, and known to believers as `True Mother.’

The church said the wedding was successful. The event had special significance as it also marked the 100th anniversary of founder Sun Myung Moon’s birth.

The Unification Church was founded in 1954 by the late Moon, who declared he and his wife were messiahs.

From 1961 until his death in 2012, he oversaw mass weddings at which thousands were matched with spouses they sometimes had just met and who, in some cases, did not even speak the same language. (Reuters/NAN)


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