Wedding For 13,000 Members of Unification Church
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ More than 13,000 brides and grooms in the Unification Church were married Sunday in a mass wedding complete with matching bridal gowns and bouquets, a day after the couples were introduced.
The ceremony matched 6,516 couples, 4,000 of them Japanese marrying Japanese and the remainder marriages between people from the United States and more than a dozen other nations.
Many couples did not speak the same language.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the South Korean-based church, matched the couples personally, a church spokesman said, and purposely chose to unite more than 2,000 Japanese and Koreans ″to heal and spiritually cleanse bad feelings left over from the Japanese colonial rule of Korea.″
Moon told the newlyweds: ″You will overcome international barriers to create one world of the heart and a blessed race for the future.″
In unison, the grooms lifted the veils of the brides and the brides and grooms took identifical gold rings from small silk pouches to place on each other’s fingers.
There was no kiss. The couples are counseled to live together 40 days without sharing the same bed.
Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported that South Korean hotels were complaining they had no business from the wedding.
″The church feels a marriage is not just for personal physical satisfaction,″ explained Bernard Quandt, of Bad-Kreuznach, West Germany. Quandt was matched to a Korean woman and married in a mass wedding in 1982.
This was the first mass wedding by the church since the 1982 ceremony, when about 6,000 couples were united. Only a few smaller group weddings have been held since, said Quandt, a teacher in the church seminary.
The ceremony was held in a giant warehouse of a church-owned soft drink plant at Yong-in village, south of Seoul. The words of speakers were translated into Korean and Japanese.
Ruka Nun-ira, a 31-year-old from Ghana, married Kurokawa Akemi from Japan. He said they will live in Seoul where he is attending school.
Ruka isn’t concerned they cannot communicate much, except in smiles. He said he ″made a choice and I trust the church. We’ll figure it out.″