Thousands of people have been married in South Korea in the first mass wedding organized by the Unification Church since the death of its founder, Sun Myung Moon.
Some 3,500 identically-dressed couples took part in the ceremony in Gapyeong, north-east of the capital, Seoul.
A further 24,000 followers – often known as “Moonies” – were also married in other countries via video link.
The ceremony was presided over by Hak Ja-han, the widow of Sun Myung Moon, who died in September.
An estimated 30,000 people attended the 92-year-old’s funeral.
Four hundred of the Church’s members who were married on Sunday chose to have their partners selected for them by Hak Ja-han, something her late husband also did.
“I was pretty nervous,” Jin Davidson, a 21-year-old American, told the AFP news agency.
“Then all of a sudden she popped up in front of me, and I said OK.”
Thousands of people have been married in South Korea in the first mass wedding organized by the Unification Church since the death of its founder, Sun Myung Moon
Jin Davidson, whose parents were paired off by Sun Myung Moon, said he struggled to communicate with his Japanese bride, Kotona Shimizu, 21.
“I speak no Japanese at all, and she only speaks a little English, but we see it as an exciting challenge and proof of our faith,” he added.
The mass weddings began in the early 1960s and over the years grew in size. In 1997, some 30,000 couple were married in Washington.
The Unification Church has been accused of brainwashing its followers and embezzlement.
Today is 12-12-12, the last major numerical date using the Gregorian or Christian calendar for almost another century.
Thousands of brides hoping to add some auspicious significance to their walk down the aisle will tie the knot today, the last triple-digit date for one hundred years.
Lisa Brashear and Sean Kluesner will say “I do” at 12:12pm, just one of the approximate 7,500 couples that will wed today, compared to only 485 got married on 12/12/11.
Lisa Brashear, 29, told the Denver Post: “Our running joke is that we picked that date because we wanted to be married before the end of the world,” referring to the Mayan Long Count Calendar’s purported last day of humanity, December 21st.
The couple is also one of many who saw the date as convenient, with the hundreds of mass wedding packages on offer across America.
When they saw a wedding-package deal offered by Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, 12 couples to marry at 12:12 on 12/12/12 for $1,200, they said it was an obvious choice.
Lisa Brashear added: “We didn’t have to do any planning – just show up with a ring and a marriage license.”
Those tying the knot at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel will have 40 different 12/12/12 wedding packages to choose from, some of which include an Elvis Presley impersonator, and also pirate, gangster and gothic themes.
Meanwhile for couples like Laura Drumm and Joshua Bonkowski from Chicago, they say that they “just like the number”.
Laura Drumm, who will tie the knot at 12.30 p.m. today, said: “I have a good feeling about it.”
Some women have even scheduled cesarean-section births to give their offspring a lucky head start.
Thousands of brides hoping to add some auspicious significance to their walk down the aisle tie the knot on December 12th 2012, the last triple-digit date for one hundred years
Hospitals in India and Indonesia were among those to receive a much higher number of requests from expecting parents to deliver their babies on 12-12-12, numerologists and astrologers say that babies born on this day will inherit the qualities of planet Jupiter, a symbol of prosperity and wealth.
Smitha Leo John, a 34-year-old IT professional from India told the Deccan Chronicle: “I have some medical complications…The doctor, whom I am consulting, advised me to pick any date in a 10-day window, and I grabbed the opportunity to get the delivery done on December 12.”
Dr. Gayatri Karthik, Consultant Gynaecologist, Manipal Hospital, added: “There are other deliveries too that have been lined up for Wednesday.
“But we cannot compromise medical care for the fancy of number. We are doing the deliveries only for those expecting mothers who have completed 36 weeks of pregnancy.”
Scott Petullo, a Las Vegas-based numerologist explained to ABC News: “It’s been said that 12-12-12 is a special moment in time, a <<master shift, peak point in spiritual energy>>, and even a time of <<ascension>>, when spiritual initiates <<ascend>> to a wonderful new existence, one free of personal adversity and karma.”
However Underwood Dudley, a retired professor of mathematics at DePauw University and author of Numerology, disagreed: “It’s just a cute day.
“Other than that, it’s just a number. The delusion of numerologists is that numbers have a power over events, but they don’t.
“Just because it’s 12-12-12 doesn’t mean anything will happen. It would happen anyway.”
But as couples get ready to say “I do” across the country, for a lucky start to a new marriage or pure convenience, at least there will be no excuse for missed wedding anniversaries.
Lisa Brashear agreed: “It will be an easy day for Sean to remember!”
The next time three numbers will align will be on January 1st, 3001, or 1/1/1.
Even Pope Benedict has taken advantage of the cosmic day, sending out his very first tweet today, on 12/12/12.
Tim Johnson, co-owner of the Shining Lotus Metaphysical Bookstore in Denver, said: “It’s some sort of phenomenon. Mostly, it’s the auspiciousness of the number. People are looking for that to tie in to whatever is happening in their lives.”