After participating in the Chinese New Year Parade in Flushing, Queens, New York last week, practitioners once again appeared February 5th, 2006 in the 7th Annual Lunar New Year Parade in the largest Chinatown in New York - Manhattan Chinatown. The Falun Gong group was composed of floats, a marching band, a celestial maiden group, waist drum group, and exercise demonstration group. A vast and long lineup spanned several blocks. It was spectacular. Crowds of Western and Chinese spectators along the parade route amounted to several hundred thousand. Many people praised the Falun Gong entry. Wherever they went, many spectators took pictures.
There were nearly a hundred parade entries from Chinese associations, organisations and communities. The parade stretched for several dozen blocks. The crowd of spectators packed the streets on the parade route. It was hard to move forward by even a tiny step. Local people expressed that the number of participants and spectators was unprecedented for this year's parade.
When the Falun Gong contingent passed the main stage, the organiser of the parade, host of Fan Rong Chinese Association, read out in a loud voice the words on the banners Falun Gong practitioners held, "Falun Dafa," "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." He used the words "a sea of people" to describe the huge and magnificent sight of the Falun Gong lineup.
This was the first Manhattan Chinatown performance for the newly-formed practitioners' marching band, the "Celestial Band." They played "Falun Dafa is Great," "Drums and Trumpets Shake the World in Ten Directions" and other resounding pieces of music. Western practitioners formed a huge dragon full of vigor and energy. The performances by the celestial maidens and waist drum groups drew the spectators constant acclaim.
In prior years, practitioners had demonstrated the exercises only on floats. This year, a group demonstrated the exercises while walking. The leader of the group kept introducing the characteristics of the Falun Gong exercises. Many people took pictures. One police officer on duty viewed it with excitement and could not help following the practitioners to do the movements.
A Manhattan resident commented that the Falun Gong contingent was the most outstanding and majestic, their performance was very successful. She also expressed that Falun Gong cultivation has been more and more understood by local people and it will be a definite trend in Chinatown.
An official of the New York Chinese Chamber said that the grand Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown promotes Eastern traditional culture. "We are here to promote the true Chinese culture, but not a false one made after the Chinese communist party seized the power in the mainland in 1949. At the same time, Chinese New Year is also the day for affection between family members. This is also what we emphasised."
The same morning, practitioners also participated in another Chinese New Year parade in Brooklyn, another place where Chinese people gather. There were warmly received and acclaimed. Some local people even followed the Falun Gong contingent all the way to acclaim their elegant demeanor, and thanked them for bringing joy and peace to the local people while celebrating this traditional festival.
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