(Minghui.org) Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This year’s July 4th marked the 246th anniversary of the United States as an independent nation. In 2021 the Independence Day celebrations were extended by one week, and this year’s festivities were held for 16 days, from June 19 to July 4.

The “WAWA Welcome America” celebration on July 4 began with a ceremony outside Independence Hall and featured a performance by Miss America Emma Broyles, the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, and parts of the Declaration of Independence read aloud. The Independence Day parade followed. Falun Dafa practitioners were invited to participate and were welcomed by parade organizers and spectators.

Practitioners’ waist drummers and dragon dance team in the “WAWA Welcome America” celebrations in Philadelphia on July 4

Spectators Praise Practitioners’ Performances

Kathy Tierney praised practitioners’ performances and said they boosted the spirit of the parade. “They are wonderful! I really like them. I think they are amazing.” She said she loved their costumes and the coherence of their performances. She said everyone was smiling and in a good mood, which really lifted the atmosphere of the parade.

Mike Goldblatt who lives near Philadelphia said that this was the first time he’d seen the waist drum team and he really admired their performances. “They are great! We really like it.”

Colette, who watched the parade with her friends, said she was amazed by the practitioners’ performances: “I like it very much. This is the second time we have seen them in this parade.”

As part of the festivities, practitioners also had a booth where they demonstrated the exercises and told people about Falun Dafa. They distributed information about Falun Dafa and shared traditional Chinese culture through song and calligraphy.

Festival attendees learn the Falun Dafa exercises.Many people visit the practitioners’ booth during the event.https://www.minghui.org/mh/article_images/2022-7-8-philly-wawa-parade-07.jpg。Practitioners distribute fliers and collect signatures.

Some people learned the exercises at the event. Jake Becz, who works for a technology company, said that after he did the exercises he “felt super relaxed, full of energy. It’s very interesting.”

Parade in Glenside: Practitioners “A Breath of Fresh Air”

After participating in the parade in Philadelphia, practitioners rushed to the town of Glenside to participate in their Independence Day parade.

The waist drummers, dragon dancers, lotus dancers, and an exercise demonstration in the parade in Glenside

Ed Boyd, the organizer of the Glenside Town Parade and vice president of the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association, said of the Falun Dafa practitioners’ entry, “I like them. They are a breath of fresh air. They are great.”

Background: What Is Falun Dafa?

Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in Changchun, China, in 1992. The spiritual discipline is now practiced in over 100 countries worldwide. Millions of people who have embraced the teachings—which are based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance—and learned the five exercises have experienced improved health and well-being.