GAPYEONG, South Korea (Sun, Feb 17) — About 3500 couples tied their wedding knots Sunday in South Korea; in the first mass wedding organized by the Unification Church on Sunday - the first since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon.
It was certainly an awesome event participated by thousands of identically-dressed couples - many of mixed nationality who had met just days before - taking part in the ceremony in Gapyeong, north-east of the capital, Seoul.
The event was not only participated by followers- often known as "Moonies" – inside South Korea; but more than 24,000 members were also married in other countries via video link.
Sunday's event carried a special resonance, with Moon's 70-year-old widow Hak Ja Han presiding for the first time without her husband who died in September last year because of complications from pneumonia. An estimated 30,000 people attended the 92-year-old's funeral.
The church's mass weddings began in the early 1960s and originally involved just a few dozen couples. Over the years they grew in size and attracted international media attention.
In 1997, some 30,000 couples were married in Washington. and two years later around 21,000 filled the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.