(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners were a big part of several major Christmas parades in North America this past weekend, fielding the magnificent Divine Land Marching Band, waist drummers, and practitioners demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises in colorful, traditional dress. 

Falun Gong featured in two events in the Toronto area on November 28 and 29, and one in Sherbrooke near Montreal on November 29. Also on November 29, practitioners took part in the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Toronto: “Absolutely Beautiful!”

With the Divine Land Marching Band and waist drum troupe, Falun Gong practitioners attended two Santa Claus Parades near Toronto: Markham in the north on November 28 and Mississauga in the west on November 29.

The Divine Land Marching Band on parade in Mississauga.Waist drum performance in the Markham Santa Claus Parade.

Lucie Muldoon, organizer of the Mississauga parade, said that she always enjoys the practitioners' performance and is glad to invite them every year. “”Both the band and waist drums have been doing so well. The music is absolutely beautiful! The color is great too. It brights up everything and is a perfect fit for the parade,” she enthused.

Event organizer Lucie Muldoon said that she always welcomes Falun Gong to the Mississauga Christmas Parade.

Denis Cartier, a police officer on duty for the Markham parade, said that he was very impressed by the music. “It's just wonderful. And the costumes are so colorful!”

Many Chinese spectators chatted with the practitioners. After learning more about Falun Gong and realizing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had been defaming practitioners for over 10 years, a large number of Chinese people decided to quit the CCP and its affiliated organization.

Danijela Matteo from Mississauga said that practitioners in China should have the right to practice their belief. She was glad that Jiang Zemin is being sued for persecuting Falun Gong in China, “He did something terribly wrong and he should be responsible for that,” said Ms. Matteo.

Sherbrooke: “Really Outstanding”

After the Montreal parade on November 21, practitioners traveled about two hours to take part in the 14th annual Sherbrooke Santa Claus Parade on November 29. With practitioners from New York, Ottawa, and Montreal, the Divine Land Marching Band was the biggest participating group and was invited by the organizer to lead the parade.

All the way from the city center to the Place des Festivals in front of City Hall, the band received waves of warm applause from the spectators.

Réal Sirois, who played in a marching band before retirement, was very impressed. “This is really outstanding! It would be hard to find another band so good,” he said.

Another spectator, Jean-Paul, was excited too, Pointing at the snowflakes gently falling from the sky, he said to his wife, “We liked this band last year and I hoped we'd have a nice day this year. Well, with snow and such excellent music, we have the makings of a perfect Christmas season.”

The Divine Land Marching Band and a light snow set the holiday mood for the Christmas parade in Sherbrooke.

Hollywood: “I Like Everything about the Band”

There were about 100 groups in the Hollywood Christmas Parade on November 29, an annual event that began in 1928. With its cultural diversity and groups from overseas, this celebration always draws a big crowd.

Falun Gong practitioners have been invited back to the Hollywood Christmas Parade every year since their inaugural performance in 2005. Their presence has added a special flavor of Oriental culture to the festivities.

The Divine Land Marching Band at the Hollywood Christmas parade.Falun Gong float in the Hollywood Christmas parade.

Spectator reception is always enthusiastic for the Falun Gong contingent, with comments ranging from “great” and “unique” to “I like everything about the band!”

Report compiled from several Minghui articles:

Chinese version available

Chinese version available