Larry On | Epoch Times
NEW YORK—Over 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners from 57 countries and regions assembled in Manhattan on May 12 for a grand parade, the centerpiece event of World Falun Dafa Day activities in New York.
Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that involves slow exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, gave his first lecture 25 years ago on May 13 in his native city of Changchun, northeast China. Today, Falun Dafa is practiced by tens of millions in over 70 countries.
About 6,500 of those practitioners from around the world gathered at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in the early morning of a sunny Friday for the start of the grand parade.
Many practitioners were dressed in yellow T-shirts or sweaters emblazoned with the words “Falun Dafa is Good” in Chinese and English.
One contingent was made up entirely of practitioners in national or ethnic dress: Korean ladies wore hanbok dresses; Austrian and German men wore traditional hats and lederhosen, or sharp trachten jackets; and Polish practitioners wore kontusz, an elegantly embroidered outer garment traditionally worn by Polish nobility.
A short rally featuring speakers from Falun Dafa associations or nongovernmental organizations was held at around 9 o’clock. Anastasia Lin, the reigning Miss World Canada and a Falun Dafa practitioner, also addressed the parade participants.
The parade began immediately after the half hour rally.
Leading the parade was one of three Tianguo Marching Bands, followed by a dragon dance team comprising New York-based practitioners. Following them were practitioners carrying colorful banners, motorized floats where practitioners demonstrated the exercises, and golden costume-clad practitioners beating traditional tunes on red waist drums.
The parade’s end point was the Chinese consulate in New York, where local practitioners have long protested the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
During the parade, a Tuidang Center’s banner raised awareness of the Tuidang movement to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its youth organizations.