Australia: Falun Gong Practitioners Participate in Easter Day Parade in Bendigo

Bendigo has a long history in Australia, as it was an important and thriving town during the gold rush years, from 1851-1954. Bendigo City Hall hosted a range of community based activities over this Easter long weekend, April 10th-13th, 2009, to celebrate the religious holiday. This celebration is second only to Christmas, which is the most popular celebration of the year. The grand parade on Monday was the most eye-catching among all the activities. Falun Gong practitioners have been taking part in the parade for eight consecutive years, and were once again warmly welcomed.

Melbourne Divine Land Marching Band participates in Easter Day Parade in Bendigo
Elegant dance in Tang Dynasty costumes
Spectators watch the Divine Land Marching Band

The origin of Bendigo's Easter Day Parade has been traced back to over a hundred years ago. It has been preserved as an important tradition for this community. The celebration of Easter has become a cultural event over the years in Bendigo, consisting of a rich and diversified programme. During the four days of celebration, people watch street-art performances and take part in other fun activities. The most anticipated event, however, is the grand parade on Monday. This year, the theme of the parade was "The Symbol of Bendigo." Different groups of people jointly celebrate the resurrection of Christ with beautifully decorated floats and parade processions to express their awe and gratitude toward God.

The Easter Day Parade in Bendigo is the second largest parade in Victoria, representing different nations and communities, and featuring rich and profound multicultural characteristics. Nearly two hundred thousand people watched the parade. Many people drove two hours from Melbourne to participate. Almost all of the local people from Bendigo came out to watch or participate. Many families stood on both sides of the road from quite early in the morning, awaiting the parade that would bring them new and pleasant surprises.

Falun Gong practitioners have participated in this parade for eight consecutive years, and have won the highest award several times. More and more people have learned about Falun Dafa from this event. More than a hundred practitioners participated in this year's parade, the Melbourne Divine Land Marching Band made its first appearance in Bendigo, and their resounding performance was breathtaking. Spectators responded with huge rounds of applause. Following closely were three young ladies carrying three huge Chinese characters which mean Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Behind them were elegant dancers in Tang Dynasty costumes and a cheerful and joyous fan dance team. Next, was the waist drum team, the exercise demonstration team and a float decorated with handmade lotus flowers, which Chinese people regard as a heavenly flower. The contingent moved forward peacefully and harmoniously to the music of "Falun Dafa is Good."

The parade route was eight kilometres (5 miles) long. People along the route constantly applauded, and from time to time, someone could be heard saying, "Falun Dafa, wonderful!" Many people asked for brochures so they may learn more.

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