(Minghui.org) Hundreds of Falun Dafa practitioners gathered in San Francisco's Chinatown on May 10, 2015 to celebrate the 16th World Falun Dafa Day. This May 13 marks the 23rd anniversary Falun Dafa's public introduction and is also the birthday of the founder, Master Li Hongzhi.

Ms. Gao Jie, one of the event hosts, said, “Falun Dafa practitioners in San Francisco express their sincere appreciation and respect to Master Li. On May 13 every year, Falun Dafa practitioners in each country celebrate World Falun Dafa Day. We hope more people can learn about Falun Dafa and benefit from practicing it.”

Event hosts explain the background of World Falun Dafa Day.

Falun Dafa practitioners gather for a group photo near the Golden Gate Bridge to wish Master Li a happy birthday.

Falun Dafa practitioners gathered in Marina Green Park near Golden Gate Bridge in the morning for a group photo to wish Master Li a happy birthday. Next, they headed to Portsmouth Square in Chinatown for the celebration. The Divine Land Marching Band kicked off a series of performances, which featured instrumental pieces, singing, and traditional Chinese dance.

The Divine Land Marching Band gives the first performance of the celebration.

The band draws many spectators.

Falun Dafa practitioners give colorful performances to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day in San Francisco's Chinatown.

The director of the Divine Land Marching Band gives a speech.

Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrate the exercises

Practitioner Ms. Hu shares a song.A practitioner plays the Pipa, a traditional Chinese music instrument.A practitioner performs on the Dizi, a Chinese bamboo flute.A practitioner shares experiences of practicing Falun Dafa.

69-year-old Ms. Yang (first from right) dances happily.

Ms. Yang, nearly 70 years old, was dying of stomach cancer in the fall of 1995. Doctors said she had only a few months left. Around that time, a friend told her about Falun Dafa. She began practicing it and experienced a miraculous recovery within just a few months. She expressed gratitude to Master Li and a wish that her story would help others discover the practice.

Ms. Ding Yue, who just came to the United States from China, participated in the celebration. She said, “Chinese Communist Party has persecuted Falun Dafa for 16 years. We feel both happy and sorrowful on this day. We cannot celebrate our practice in China like this. One would be put in prison. I am happy today to see so many people celebrating Falun Dafa Day in a free and peaceful society.”

Prof. Maria Centurion says she feels healthy and strong as a result of practicing Falun Dafa.

Ms. Maria Centurion, an art professor, started practicing Falun Dafa 12 years ago. She said she felt healthy and strong as result of the practice and is glad she can share the guiding principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance with her two-year-old daughter.

Tourists: Happy to See the Celebration

Many local residents and tourists stopped to watch the festivities. Ms. Triheresia and her husband, tourists from Germany, took photos of the event. She said, “Very beautiful and colorful. I can see the joy on the faces of the performers and speakers.”

Hearing about the persecution of Falun Dafa in China, she said, “This is not right. People should have freedom of speech and belief. This reminds us to treasure freedom.”