The 28th edition of the Chestnut Festival was the national attraction in Baia Mare from 23-25 September 2022, with a plethora of artistic, culinary, craft, ethnographic, sports, mineralogy, astronomy, traditions and innovations, archaeology and other events.
Falun Dafa practitioners from Romania joined the celebration for the third time. They presented the ancient practice that is based on the universal principles Truth, Compassion and Tolerance. They told people how physical and mental well-being is achieved through the practice of five sets of meditative exercises that support the improvements brought about by following these universal principles.
As a few practitioners demonstrated the exercises, people turned their heads towards them and picked up the information leaflets. Some stopped to watch the exercise demonstration. Once a larger group, about 8-10 people, stopped and listened with interest to the Dafa information while watching the exercises, and they all took the leaflets.
One lady said she came to the booth because she felt a good energy there. She had been a spiritual seeker since 1996. She received information about Falun Dafa exercises, the teachings that the master of the practice, Mr. Li Hongzhi, teaches, and bought Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun books. She spent some time at the booth, getting all the information she needed to know.
One practitioner recounted one of her experiences at the event: "While we were doing the Falun Dafa exercises, a woman stopped right in front of us and looked at us, happy and at the same time amazed. As I opened my eyes from time to time, I smiled to her, and she thanked us from the bottom of her heart, then stood by us until the end. After the Falun Dafa exercises ended, she told us that she had a sense of peace and tranquility. She received a leaflet, an origami lotus flower, and learned the truth about organ harvesting happening in China. She bought Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun books. She said she wanted to learn the exercises and go to the practice site in Baia Mare."
One retired university professor had got a leaflet the day before and came back to find out more about Falun Dafa and the local exercise practice site in Baia Mare.
There were a lot of young people, they usually came in groups and practitioners talked to some of them. There was a group one day about 14-16 years old. The boys took leaflets and the girls were given lotus flowers, whilst a practitioner talked to their headmistress about Dafa.
Three teenagers came to learn the exercises. They said at the end that they felt really good. One of them even said that he has back problems and felt that the practice was very good for his back.
Four children aged 7-8 stopped to watch the exercise demonstration while their parents waited nearby. The children then joined in to learn the exercises. They did their best to hold each of the four postures of exercise 2. The parents wondered how come their children were sitting so still.
Two families with two boys passed by. The children wanted to learn the exercises. The parents confessed that they had never seen them so well behaved. They wanted to know more about the practice and so they learned about its benefits, and the persecution against it.
One lady took a leaflet and her daughter, who was about 5 years old, took a lotus flower. They didn't stop walking, so they couldn't find out more. Ten minutes later they appeared again. The little girl was holding the lotus flower in front of her heart. Her mother said that she had to come back because her daughter was very insistent on finding out what the lotus flower represented, why they were free and about the label’s message. Practitioners explained to her that the lotus is the symbol of purity and explained in detail the principles of Truth, Compassion, Tolerance. She listened to me with great attention and was grateful for the information.
A mother came with her 6-year-old son to the Chestnut Festival. As she passed by, the mother was handed a leaflet. The little boy said, "Put it safely because you may need it one day!"
Appreciation and thankfulness
Two police officers stopped about ten metres from the stand and looked at practitioners. One of them knew about Falun Dafa and asked: "Isn't that practice forbidden in China?" Practitioners explained that Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, started the persecution in 1999 and they asked why. They heard that maybe it because the number of people practicing was nearly 100 million in 1999 - or maybe just that Jiang Zemin was envious of the popularity of Falun Dafa.
Practitioners gave them a booklet with more information and noticed they both had wedding rings on their fingers, so they were offered a lotus flower inscripted with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, as a gift for their wives. They were both delighted! At the end they were grateful for the information and extended their hands in greeting.
The Dafa booth was across the street from a little wooden stall where a lady and her daughter were selling sweets. On the very first day practitioners explained to them what Dafa is and why practitioners are persecuted. They took leaflets and lotus flowers, which they enjoyed very much. At one point the lady took a big stack of leaflets and helped hand them out to people.
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