2,500 Couples Get Married In Spectacular  Massive Wedding Ceremony

2,500 Couples Get Married In Spectacular Massive Wedding Ceremony

It's only natural to fear being upstaged on your wedding day, so imagine competing with 2,499 other brides.

But that did not deter these couples - some of whom met just days ago - when they married today in the romantic surroundings of a 25,000-seat sports stadium.

Dressed in gleaming white with the men in sharp black suits, they were part of only the second 'cosmic blessing' by South Korea's famous Unitarian Church since the death of its leader, divisive self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon, in September 2012.

After confirming under oath that they are virgins the couples sprinkle holy water, recite vows pledging themselves to be fathful to each other and exchange rings and prayers.

But the tradition then steers wildly away from Christian marriage - as the newlyweds must then go for at least 40 days without having sex.

The secret to a happy marriage: Tell your partner 'I love you' 10 times a week and go on at least three dates every month .

The period of abstinence is supposed to be an echo of Jesus's 40 days and nights wandering the desert, where the Bible says he remained in the wilderness as the devil appeared to him and offered him a string of temptations, all of which he ignored.

A highly controversial figure accused of leading a cult, Reverend Moon founded his church in 1954 and began holding the mass 'blessings' soon afterwards, which grew to global prominence as he gained followers around the world.

The first ceremony in 1961 attracted just 33 couples, but they soon expanded.

In one such mass blessing in 1997, 30,000 couples tied the knot in Washington D.C. Just two years later 21,000 filled the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.

Rev Moon died in September 2012 at the age of 92 of complications from pneumonia, and today's ceremony - as with another with 3,500 couples this time last year - was overseen by his 71-year-old widow Hak Ja Hang.

It was held at the CheongShim Peace World Center, a vast sports and cultural stadium with a full roof buried in the countryside on the outskirts of the South Korean capital Seoul.

As the second-largest arena of its kind in Asia, it is the same venue where the religious leader's opulent funeral was held in 2012.

Confetti was hurled into the air today as the identically-dressed couples exchanged their vows, with women dressed in traditional white dresses and veils while the men wore sharp black suits with white shawls.

Some of the couples were already married and were reaffirming their vows, while others had been engaged for some time.

For some, however, cold feet would be a real danger - as they would have met their partners just days before.

Some 140 people from 10 countries who were born into the church - 43 men and 97 women - gathered at a camp near the venue last week for a 'matching ceremony' to meet their new partners for the first time.

The newlyweds-to-be, five of whom were from America, went to classes and lectures alongside each other before putting on their wedding clothes after lunch and waiting for the 'True Mother' - Rev Moon's widow - to appear and match them up with each other.

Hak Ja Hang began matching the oldest candidates, working her way down to the youngest.

The church's American website said: 'After the matches were confirmed, it was a joy to watch the new couples converse happily with one another, many of them with the help of a translator.'

Cult-like: The Rev Moon, pictured left in 1998 with his wife who oversaw today's ceremony, said he had a vision in which God told him to do the messiah's work

One of the American participants who got married today added: 'It's weird to think that any one of these women who I am sitting next to during lectures, or eating lunch at the same table with, could be my future spouse.'

Rev Moon was famous for personally pairing up couples who could not even speak the same language because he preferred marriages to be across cultures and nations.

His teachings included that more earthy romantic love ruined society by leading to sexual promiscuity and badly-matched couples.

After the 40-day period of separation, couples join together for the 'three day ceremony', the last step in the unusual process.

According to the church's American website: 'Over a three-day period, the wife gives rebirth to her husband from the position of mother and then receives him in the position of wife.

Then in the position of father, the husband gives rebirth to his wife and receives her in the position of husband. Through this process, God breathes into the couple a new conjugal life.'

Despite gaining a huge following around the world, the insistence that Rev Moon was the second coming of Christ led him to be regarded with wide suspicion as a cult leader.

In 1982, he was jailed for 13 months in the U.S. for filing false federal income tax returns. His church insisted he had been pursued by the authorities because of his religious activities.

The church claims to have three million members worldwide, though most sources say that number is likely to be far smaller.

Source: Legit.ng

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