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South Korea: Thousands married in mass wedding

February 7, 2020

Would you share your special day with thousands of others? In South Korea, tens of thousands set aside coronavirus fears and flocked north of Seoul to watch 6,000 couples get married in a mass ceremony.

Südkorea l Massenhochzeit in Gapyeong-Gun
Image: Reuters/H. Ran

Thousands of couples took part in a mass wedding ceremony on Friday at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul.

About 30,000 people from around the world gathered to join the festivities and celebrate as 6,000 new couples got married, while others took part in renewing their vows at the ceremony performed by South Korea's Unification Church.

40-day abstinence pledge

Some of those wed on Friday had met their partners only weeks before, with the church acting as a matchmaker. 

Those who were matched by the church must confirm under oath that they are virgins and, after their wedding, the couple must refrain from sexual relations for a minimum of 40 days.

mass wedding
The mass weddings first began in the early 1960s. Friday's ceremony saw 6,000 couples get marriedImage: Getty Images/W. Cho

Fears of coronavirus

The mass wedding took place despite fears that mass gatherings could cause the new coronavirus outbreak to spread further, particularly as people had traveled from 64 countries to participate.

The church, founded by Sun Myung Moon, had urged followers from China to steer clear of the Gapyeong ceremony.

As a precaution, the church distributed facemasks to attendees but only a small number opted to don a face mask with their wedding attire. 

"I didn't put on a mask because I want to be beautiful for my husband," said a 23-year-old bride from Benin, Nguessan Myeonguet Walehet.

kmm/stb (Reuters,AFP)

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