Some 20 members of the Taiwan Laughter Club gathered in a central Taipei square yesterday to share a hearty laugh to celebrate World Laughter Day.
Led by club founder Chen Dar-cheng, the club members and their children chanted "Ho-Ho-Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha" several times before breaking into belly laughs with names like lion laugh, milkshake laugh and inner laugh.
As if they were not laughing enough, one club member, wearing a white doctor's gown and holding a giant styrofoam syringe, gave each club member a shot of "laugh medicine" on the behind, triggering shrieks of laughter from each recipient.
The hour-long event ended with the reading of a message for World Laughter Day by Madan Kataria, the Indian physician who founded the Laughter Club of India in 1995.
Since then, Kataria's laughter movement has spread across the globe. Currently there are some 5,000 laughter clubs in 40 countries with 3,000 of them in India.
He has named the first Sunday of May every year as World Laughter Day.
Kataria has quit his job at a Mumbai hospital to lead the Laughter Club International and promote what he calls the "global movement for health, happiness and world peace."
Yesterday, Kataria celebrated World Laughter Day in Frankfurt, Germany, with the members of the Frankfurt Laughter Club.
"Laughter is a universal language that has the potential to unite the whole of humanity," Kataria said in his message for World Laughter Day.
"The reason we are not laughing enough is that we have not understood the real meaning of laughter," he said.
"Laughter is not only amusement, entertainment or fun. It is an expression of inner happiness which comes only when we understand the deeper meaning of life," Kataria said.
"On this auspicious day, I appeal to you all to spread out your arms and laugh for no reason for at least one minute, sending out vibrations of peace, love and freedom into the universe for international brotherhood, friendship and world peace," he said.
The Laughter Club of Taiwan, set up last year, has invited Kataria to visit the nation to promote his laughter movement.