“Spectacular! Falun Gong’s Marching Band is the best!” “Falun Gong is great! The procession is so beautiful!” Spectators cheered for the Divine Land Marching Band, composed entirely of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) practitioners, as it marched in the Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba, a popular destination in New South Wales’ beautiful Blue Mountains.
The Winter Magic Festival attracts more than 40,000 spectators to this small tourist town of less than 10,000 permanent residents. Many well known performing artists, musicians and dancers participate in this annual event.
Falun Gong practitioners contributed the Divine Land Marching Band and a flag team to the lively festival parade.
Spectators were full of enthusiasm for the band and supportive of Falun Gong in general. Many expressed their hopes that the 17-year persecution of the practice in China will soon come to an end.
Another spectator, Christina Demos used to teach international students. She used many stories from ancient Chinese culture, hoping that her young Chinese students could learn their own traditions. However, she soon noticed that the students were more enthusiastic about shopping than about learning traditional culture.
“I think it’s important to make sure the younger generation in China knows their traditional culture,” Christina said. “If they understand what is truly happening in China and stand up against the persecution, the persecution can be stopped sooner.”
Many people in Katoomba, including artists and those on a spiritual path, wanted to learn the Falun Gong exercises. In response to all the requests, practitioners hosted a 2-hour free teaching session at a local activity center. The class was well attended. Those who couldn’t make it this time left their contact information so they could be alerted about future events in the area.