(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners in New York participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parades in Goshen and Port Jervis, Orange County on March 5 and 12, 2023, respectively. They brought joy to the local onlookers and introduced the principles of Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong): Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Eastern Culture in the Parade

This was the first time practitioners participated in these parades, and they brought the flower boat team, exercise team, Taiko drums, and lion dance teams, which added an Eastern cultural element to the traditional Western holiday. Mayors and organizers welcomed and commended their participation.

Irish descendant Tom McCarthy was the grand marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, and he welcomed Falun Dafa practitioners. Kelly Decker, Mayor of Port Jervis, also praised them. The parade committee wrote in their social media post, “Thank you Falun Dafa (Orange County Falun Gong Club) group for joining us to commemorate St. Patrick!”

When they saw two lively, big lions, a beautiful flower boat, and practitioners demonstrating the peaceful Falun Dafa exercises, many people took out their mobile phones to take photos. They applauded and praised the Falun Dafa team for its beautiful performance. Ted Eaton, the owner of a financial company, said that watching the Falun Dafa team and listening to their music, “Makes people happy.” A young Western woman happily shouted “Falun Dafa is good” in Chinese when she saw practitioners.

Practitioners also distributed small paper lotus flowers which had the message, “Falun Dafa is good” and leaflets to spectators. After receiving the small gifts, many people thanked the practitioners.

The shamrock is traditionally associated with St. Patrick in Ireland, and throughout the world.

Feast Day Celebration

St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron saint, and March 17 is believed to be his death date. In the early 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day was established as an official Christian holiday to commemorate St. Patrick and the advent of Christianity in Ireland. Wearing green clover, green clothing, or green accessories has also become associated with this traditional Irish festival.

Kelly Decker, the mayor of Port Jervis, said that Port Jervis is an excellent town, and it is a great thing that many people come out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy a good time.

Mayor Decker said about the Falun Dafa team participating in this event for the first time, “It is very good. Friends of Falun Dafa and also Chinese come to participate in the parade of Irish ethnicity. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.”

Police Chief Bill Worden, who has served Port Jervis for three decades, said, “The response to this event has been very good. Although it is a bit cold today, as part of the spirit of Deer Park, our community is celebrating Irish St. Patrick’s Day together with the Police Band, Lion Dance, Flower Boat Dance Team, New Choir Band, etc. It’s a great community.”

Worden said that the community is expanding, and many positive things are happening in Port Jervis. He said that the Chinese population is also growing and becoming part of the community.

Port Jervis was first established in May 1853 and was officially established as a city in June 1907. It is part of the early industrial history, a distribution center for transporting coal to the main market in the southeastern United States through canals, and later a 93-mile-long railway was built. Until 1970, its residents were served by railroads for long-distance travel. Afterward, the reorganization of the railroads led to a decline in commerce and the area’s economy. In the 21st century, thousands of travelers and tourists now pass through Port Jervis to enjoy rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and other recreational activities in the surrounding area. In August 2008, Port Jervis was named one of the “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel Magazine.

Proud of their community.

Half of Township Residents Watch the Parade

The 46th annual Mid-Hudson St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 12, is the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Orange County. A total of 75 groups and 15 bands participated in the parade, and thousands of people watched it on-site. Part of the parade area was surrounded by crowds of spectators. The parade teams received a lot of cheers and applause.

Goshen Mayor Scott Wohl said that the event hadn’t been held in Goshen for fifteen years and he was glad it was back this year.

Goshen is located about 50 miles northwest of New York City, and it was established in 1809 and is the seat of Orange County, New York. As of the 2020 census, the population of Orange County, New York is 401,310, the population of Goshen Village is 5,777, and the population of Port Jervis City is 8,775. Orange County is located in the Hudson Valley of the Hudson River. After the COVID pandemic spread to the United States in 2020, Orange County was considered by many New Yorkers to be a more livable area.

Thousands of people in Goshen Township with a population of less than 6,000 went to watch the parade, which shows the sensational effect of the parade.

Saint Patrick depicted in a stained glass window at St Benin’s Church, Ireland

Spiritual Factor

St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, several Canadian provinces, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. The United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand also celebrate this day. In recent years, there has been criticism that St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are becoming too commercialized.

Falun Dafa is a practice based on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The Falun Gong club in Orange County, New York expressed the hope that their participation could help restore a more spiritual tone to this local festival.

Practitioners participated in the 46th Mid-Hudson Patrick Day Parade in Goshen on March 12, 2023.

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 have learned the five exercises have experienced improved health and well-being.