Australia: Practitioners Take Part in the Festival of Lights Parade in Cairns

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For the second year in a row, Falun Gong practitioners from around Queensland, Australia took part in the Cairns "Festival of Lights Parade." Cairns is a world-famous tourist destination in the far north of Queensland, home to many attractions including the Great Barrier Reef. The Festival of Lights Parade culminates three weeks of multicultural activities held during the school holidays. The parade route follows the Esplanade for two kilometres through the heart of Cairns and draws many thousands of tourists and locals from the surrounding area. This area is particularly popular with Japanese and Chinese tourists.

Parade procession The Falun emblem People learning about Falun Gong

Queensland practitioners travelled great distances to support this activity as north Queensland has a relatively small number of practitioners. Local practitioners worked for a week creating a large double-sided Falun emblem. This was painstakingly prepared out of different coloured crepe paper rolled into small balls and glued to both sides of a large plywood frame. The result was spectacular. As the parade began at 6pm. on Saturday, practitioners spent the day preparing the truck with the Falun emblem and a float including large lotus flowers and banners. Practitioners demonstrated the exercises on the float. Since the event was called the "Festival of Lights," all vehicles had to be decorated or illuminated with lights.

When the parade was about to begin, the lights' fuse blew within minutes. After replacing the fuse, the lights went out again shortly afterwards. The driver and others began sending righteous thoughts and soon the lights came back on. The procession was quite long with two banners in the lead, followed by the large Falun display. Waist drummers were next, followed by three Falun banners and the float. Practitioners also handed out fliers about the practise and persecution.

The response to the procession was overwhelming. As the Faluns, drummers and floats passed through the massive crowds lining both sides of the street, there was the continuous sound of clapping and a stream of positive comments, along with many people shouting "Falun Dafa!" Many Chinese tourists in the crowd also pointed and said to each other "Falun Gong," while warmly smiling and clapping for the colourful procession.

The impact on the large crowd was extremely positive and many people learned about the beautiful and peaceful nature of Falun Dafa. Practitioners handing out fliers found it challenging to keep up with the demand.

The next day, practitioners had an information stall at the local markets called "The Tanks." Many people who stopped to talk had seen practitioners at the parade and were very impressed with the display. This was an opportunity to discuss the true situation in China and share experiences of practising Dafa on a more personal level.

Over the weekend, thousands of people had the good fortune to see and learn about the beauty and peacefulness of Falun Dafa and the ongoing persecution in China.

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