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World Peace Blessing

Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival Held in Northern Thailand

Chiangmai, Thailand - Around 400 couples participated in an Interfaith Peace Festival on Dec. 23, 2012 at Hangdong Municipality Hall in the Hangdong district of Chiangmai province in northern Thailand. This continued a series of Interfaith Peace Blessing Festivals in northeast Thailand that started with 650 couples in Khonkaen on December 1-2, followed by 550 couples in the Thatum District of Surin Province on Dec. 16.

Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Chairman of UPF-Asia, encouraged families to invite their relatives, neighbors, and friends to the event. Some climbed steep mountains to connect with people they had not seen in a long time, and about 150 couples from mountain tribes traveled as far as 100 k to participate, wearing traditional festive costumes. People entered the hall with enthusiasm about celebrating and strengthening their marriage through renewing their vows.

The morning session started by activities led by youth and a video presentation about the Interfaith Peace Festival in southern of Thailand in early October, which was broadcast on national television. Rev. Kamol Thananopavarn, Assistant Secretary General of UPF-Thailand, gave opening remarks for the morning session and served as an MC in the afternoon. Presentations were given about living for the sake of others, the family as the school of love and peace, and the cause and resolution of conflicts. The government officers and community leaders in the audience were inspired with a vision for strengthening community ties and addressing social issues.

A traditional Thai Welcoming Dance opened the afternoon program, honoring the King of Thailand on his 85th birthday, followed by the Royal Anthem. Prof. Kirti Bunchua gave welcoming remarks, and Mr. Sangad Buranapattarachoti, Senior Deputy District Chief of the Hangdong district, gave opening remarks. Prof. Bunchua and his wife distributed to the couples cups of celebratory wine, which husband and wife shared with each other.

A Buddhist monk, Christian minister, an imam, and a Sikh leader offered prayers of blessing from their religious tradition. Their words emphasized the value of marriage and family and created an atmosphere of love and holiness in the hall.

Dr. Lek and Mrs. Vipa Thaveetermsakul, Vice Chair UPF-Asia, officiated, representing UPF Founders Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. They sprinkled holy water on the couples and led the affirmation of blessing vows. This was followed by a recording of a prayer by Rev. Sun Myung Moon at a blessing festival in Korea the previous March. After husbands and wives exchanged rings, Mr. Norachet Somboon sang a congratulatory song, “One Heart, One Love, One Mind.”

Mrs. Panida Duangjinda, Vice President of the Women's Federation for World Peace-Thailand, and Dr. Jamroon Rengthanomsab, Mayor of a subdistrict of Hangdong, gave congratulatory remarks. Council members from Hangdong district offered floral bouquets to the officiators, who then led everyone in three cheers, pronounced "chaiyo" in the Thai language.

The festival concluded in an atmosphere of great joy. Family members, relatives, and neighbors expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to attend such a wonderful event which uplifted their spirits and gave them new insights and inspiration.

Mrs. Mayuree Yoktree, Chief of Chiangmai Provincial Social Development and Human Security Office, participated along with her husband. She said she gained many ideas from the event about ways to strengthen family life.

Governments officials who were contacted earlier said the event exceeded their expectations. They congratulated the organizers and said they were interested in working together in the future.

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