(Minghui.org) Every year cities throughout the U.S. hold parades to commemorate Ireland’s traditional festival, St. Patrick’s Day. Falun Dafa practitioners from the greater Washington DC area participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade held on March 2, 2024, in Alexandria, Virginia. They demonstrated the exercises on a float, and their waist drum performances were welcomed by organizers and residents.

Located on the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of Washington DC. This year marks the 41st annual parade.

Practitioners participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade held on March 2, 2024.

Demonstrating the Falun Dafa exercises on the float.

Practitioners performed waist drums during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Alexandria.

Parade Organizers Welcomed Falun Gong Practitioners

Parade Committee Chairperson Christine McClarin said, “We celebrate Ireland’s traditions. There are many Irish people among the founders of Alexandria city.”

She said different ethnic groups took part in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebrations, and Alexandria welcomes groups from different multicultural backgrounds. Falun Dafa practitioners were the only Chinese group in the parade. She said, “We have such an outstanding group joining us! It is truly wonderful!”

Parade Chairperson Ms. Christine McClarin said she welcomed Falun Dafa practitioners’ participation in the parade.

Two practitioners demonstrated the exercises on the float, and the waist drum team performed, “Falun Dafa Is Good,” bringing a joyous atmosphere to the event. As the contingent passed by the main stage, the MC introduced them, “Falun Dafa, Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”

Practitioners participating in the St. Patrick’s Day parade

People Praise Practitioners for Their Unwavering Faith

This was the first time some people had heard of Falun Dafa or the persecution. Mr. Chris Zettler called over several members of his group who were in the parade to listen to a practitioner narrate her experience of being persecuted in China for her belief, including being sentenced to prison. They said they admired her courage in persisting in her belief despite the persecution.

Mr. Chris Zettler (right) and a colleague who was in the parade listened as a practitioner described her experience of being persecuted in China for her belief.

Practitioners were applauded by spectators during the parade. John Peters said, “It is great to see Falun Dafa practitioners here.”

John explained that he’d seen practitioners before during events in New York City. “I truly admire the things they do, despite the rule of the Communist Party in China. I sympathize with practitioners who are persecuted. I hope they will gain freedom.”

John Peters waved and thanked practitioners.

Falun Dafa is a Perfect Cultivation Way

Tim Burner brought his son to watch the parade, and said he saw practitioners in local activities last year. He said, “This is a perfect cultivation way, I think it is absolutely helpful to the mind, body, and spirit.”

He praised the principles of Falun Dafa – Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, he said, “This is human nature.”

Tim Burner praised Falun Dafa’s principles.

Mike, who works for a local real estate company, said he was hearing of Falun Dafa for the first time. He said, “It was interesting to see them in the parade, I loved it. I loved their costumes, everyone looked happy.” He noticed the three words Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance on the banner and said, “I think this is the right message. It’s a good thing for the times we are in now. I really like it.”

Mike said he liked seeing Falun Dafa practitioners in the parade.

Rita and her family watched the parade. She said she’d previously seen practitioners at the National Mall in Washington DC. When she saw them at the parade, she took a flier and said, “I don’t know anything about Falun Dafa, so I want to read the material.”

Many people who heard of Falun Dafa for the first time took fliers to learn more about the practice.

Rita and her family wanted to know more about Falun Dafa.

Many people were interested in Falun Dafa.