California: Falun Gong Captures Media Attention and is Very Well Received in Hollywood Christmas Parade (Photos/Video)
(Clearwisdom.net) The 75th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade was held the evening of November 26, 2006, in Los Angeles. Falun Gong practitioners were invited to participate in this festive event with a long history. Practitioners' grand lineup, with brilliantly colored costumes, vigorous and inspiring drums, and a beautifully decorated float, attracted the media's attention. People along the way gave them constant applause and acclamations. There were also people who pressed their hands together to bow and Heshi to practitioners.
Video: Falun Gong contingent on TV
As in previous years, this year's procession started at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater, with a total length of 2.3 miles. About 500,000 spectators gathered on both sides of the street. Los Angeles KTLA-TV Tribune television station broadcast live to the United States during the actual parade, and more than 20 television stations in San Francisco, Boston, Washington, San Diego, Hawaii, and other major cities rebroadcast it on different channels. A national television broadcast in the evening spent two and a half minutes reporting on the Falun Gong contingent. The next day, newspapers reported on the Hollywood Christmas parade. The third largest newspaper in the US, the Los Angeles Times, placed a photo of Falun Gong waist drummers on the front page. TV stations in the Los Angeles area will rebroadcast the parade in the coming weekend.
The Falun Gong contingent, composed of more than 230 practitioners, was the only group of predominantly Chinese in the parade. At the front of their procession was the Western US Divine Land Marching Band with more than 130 members. They wore blue hats, jackets, and light-colored pants. The band members marched in step and played loud and clear. As the procession moved forward, it seemed that all the haze dispersed. Many spectators spontaneously clapped their hands with the beat of the drums, and children rushed into the street, jumping and cheering.
Closely following the marching band were celestial maidens in orange Tang Dynasty costumes. They danced gracefully to peaceful music. Their long, broad sleeves flew through the air as they danced, conveying practitioners' message: "We wish to bring the wonderfulness of Falun Dafa to everybody.
Behind the dancers appeared a float with a huge lantern carefully constructed by practitioners. On the float, practitioners sitting on lotuses demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises. Other practitioners constantly waved to the audience. "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance"--the three characters were eye-catching in the shining light of the red lantern.
At the end of the Falun Gong procession were the waist drummers. They were dressed in yellow outfits, and everyone was in high spirits and happy. Their display was a wonderful climax to the Falun Gong contingent. People could easily remember: "Falun Dafa is Good!"
As they announced the Falun Gong contingent, the parade anchors said that Falun Gong was first introduced to the public in 1992 and that it was suitable for people of different ages and cultural backgrounds: "It has five sets of exercises and includes a meditation. It can improve one's mind, body and spirit, and increase one's energy. The practice was introduced not long ago, but it is already very popular and has spread to dozens of countries worldwide. Its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, has twice been nominated for the Nobel Prize. The male anchor said, "I'm practicing now, and it is really effective."
The coordinator of the practitioners in the parade, Mr. Li, said that it was the second time for the Falun Gong group to participate in the parade. Last year the group was recognized by many circles. In fact, when the sponsor of one of the largest parades in the eastern US--the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Celebration Parade in Buckhannon--was looking for participating groups, a recommendation from the Hollywood Parade organizer prompted him to invite the Falun Gong group to participate in their Strawberry Parade held on May 20 this year. The Falun Gong contingent was the only Chinese group invited to participate in the parade and won five awards.
Mr. Li recounted that, prior to that parade, they could not assemble their float outdoors because of the rain. The sponsor of the Strawberry Festival Parade rented a venue for repairing airplanes especially for the practitioners to assemble the float.
After the parade, the Western US Divine Land Marching Band left Los Angeles and returned to San Francisco. At a rest stop halfway home, a passerby chased one of the members of the band and asked, "You just participated in the parade, and you are heading back home, right?" She said excitedly, "I saw you on TV! Your group is really beautiful! Very colorful!" She repeated several times, "Really beautiful!"
The Hollywood Christmas Parade began in 1982, inspired by cowboy singer Gene Autry's holiday classic "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Originally for attracting tourists and consumers, it has turned into a grand event heralding the Christmas season in the US.