(Minghui.org) 2023 marks the 31st anniversary of the public introduction of Falun Dafa. May 13th is the 24th World Falun Dafa Day as well as the birthday of the founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi. On May 7, practitioners in New York celebrated the occasion with large-scale group exercises and cultural performances at Union Square in Manhattan.

Practitioners gathered at Union Square in Manhattan to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day and wish Master Li Happy Birthday.

Celebrating With a Variety of Cultural Performances

Practitioners did Falun Dafa exercises at Union Square in Manhattan on May 7.

Practitioners assembled at Union Square in Manhattan in the morning for group exercises. Practitioners of different ethnic groups, both young and old were focused on doing the exercises in the bright sun, forming a beautiful and peaceful scene. Many passersby stopped to watch and took photos. Local residents told practitioners they thought it was great to see practitioners hold activities here every year. A group of tourists from Italy were thrilled to see Falun Dafa in New York and said that they saw similar activities back home, so they knew a little about the practice. For some, it was the first time they heard of Falun Dafa and they accepted flyers and began reading them.

Practitioners celebrated World Falun Dafa Day with a variety of cultural performances.

After the group exercise, a variety of activities began in the afternoon to celebrate the occasion including dragon and lion dances, Eastern and Western musical instrument performances, dances by young practitioners, reciting poetry, a solo, and choral and waist drum performances. Young Western practitioners were applauded by spectators for the excellent Chinese recital of poems from Hong Yin and their flips and tumbles.

Sophie and Athnea, teachers from the Tiny Lotus Primary School, as well as parents Ms. Sun and Ms. Zhao, shared stories of the positive changes in their children after they began to practice Falun Dafa. The children became more considerate, and tolerant, stopped swearing, and learned to be grateful. They knew they should conduct themselves according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Students in the school studied the teachings of Falun Dafa in the morning and did the exercises in the afternoon every day. Their parents and teachers said that they are growing up into fine young men and women.

The organizers of the event said that over the years, practitioners have been raising awareness of the ongoing persecution in China through parades, rallies, and holding banners. They also displayed a variety of cultural talents. Furthermore, children of practitioners have grown up practicing Falun Dafa. The celebrations that day reflect the popularity of Falun Dafa around the world and people from different ethnic groups have embraced the practice.

Awards from Politicians

New York politicians sent congratulatory messages for World Falun Dafa Day.

New York politicians sent congratulatory messages one after another, praising Falun Dafa for the benefits it brought to New York state and the positive influence practitioners brought to the community. On April 25, the New York State Senate adopted Resolution 821 to commemorate the 24th annual World Falun Dafa Day. This is the 11th year the New York Senate has passed resolutions commending “World Falun Dafa Day”.

Practitioners Are Good People

People loved the performances by practitioners that day. Elizabeth and David said, “The colors are so pure and rich. The dragon dance was amazing, the children loved it.”

Not only did spectators enjoy the performances, but they were also interested to know more about Falun Dafa. Elizabeth opened the flier a practitioner handed out saying it was the first time she had heard of the persecution. She found it hard to believe. “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is a virtue. I think all of them are equally important to have in everyday life. There is no reason not to tolerate a group of people who follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”

Mr. Li is from Taiwan and has lived in the U.S. for 45 years. He stood for a long time watching the performances. He said although he does not practice Falun Dafa, he supports everything practitioners do and feels sorry for those oppressed in China.

“I realized that after 2008 the reports on the Epoch Times on organ harvesting are true,” he said. Many people ignore the CCP’s doings and such a situation must end, people should be alert. “Now the free world is facing a huge threat. We must try our best to prepare for this.”

Among the spectators was a tourist from China who chose not to join a tour group. He observed that practitioners performed in the hot sun while practitioners watched the performances below for several hours in the sun, unlike others who chose to watch in the shade. He remarked that this showed the, “Inner discipline of Falun Dafa practitioners.”

He said it was because practitioners, “Held such an unwavering spirit” hence they have such great achievements today. A coworker who was with him said he was acquainted with Falun Dafa practitioners in China and knew they were good people. Although the CCP is persecuting practitioners, “History will remember everything.” He believes that “Justice may come late but will not be absent.”