6,000 couples wed in South Korea amid coronavirus outbreak

A mass wedding of has taken place in South Korea, with 6,000 couples getting married or renewing their vows.

The event saw many of the 30,000 attendees wearing face masks amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak – South Korea has seen 24 confirmed cases.

South Koreans

Couples and observers attended gathered at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong on Friday in a mass wedding arranged by the Unification Church.

The Unification Church, founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon in 1954, regularly holds weddings on such a large scale.

Friday’s nuptial ceremony was arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, wife of the controversial founder.

With more than 31,000 cases of coronavirus confirmed in nearby China, church staff offered antibacterial hand gel and handed out surgical masks at the event.

Staff also checked couples’ temperatures ahead of the ceremony.

Mass weddings are a well-known feature of the South Korea-based church which critics have called a cult.

The group has faced questioning over its finances in the past, and how it indoctrinates followers – sometimes derogatorily known as “Moonies”.

Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who died in 2012 at the age of 92, was a controversial figure and was once jailed in the United States for tax evasion.

He also declared in 1992 that he and his wife were messiahs.

This year holds special significance for followers as it marked the 100th anniversary of Rev Moon’s birth.