(Minghui.org) March 17 is celebrated all over the world as St. Patrick’s Day, a traditional Irish holiday. This year, Falun Dafa practitioners were invited to participate in parades in two major cities in Ireland: Cork and Limerick. Their entries in the parades were greeted with applause and cheers. Many people raised their mobile phones to take pictures and videos.
St. Patrick’s Day was officially recognised by the Catholic church in the 17th century to commemorate Saint Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland. It is now a national holiday in Ireland, and celebrations in major cities attract tourists from all over the world. More than 50,000 spectators attended the parades in both Cork and Limerick.
Falun Dafa Group Praised in Cork
Cork is the second largest city in Ireland. More than 40,000 tourists from all over the world flocked to the southern seaport city ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. This year, the City of Cork took “A Century of Stories” as its theme, and 3,500 people representing 55 different groups participated in their parade. More than 50,000 people lined the streets to watch.
Accompanied by melodious exercise music, practitioners dressed in green and white traditional costumes led the way with Falun Dafa banners, followed by a graceful exercise team. An energetic Tang drum team providing a rousing beat came last.
Despite the occasional drizzle, spectators in festive garb on both sides of the road were full of enthusiasm. When practitioners passed by, many people took pictures. They also danced and cheered to the rhythm of the drums.
Float Popular in Limerick
That same day, a float made by practitioners was unveiled for the first time in Limerick in the west of Ireland. Three Falun Dafa practitioners in brightly colored costumes demonstrated the exercises on the float. They added traditional Eastern cultural elements to this Western festival and were praised by the organisers and the audience.
When a couple from China saw the practitioners’ entry, they were both surprised and pleased. The husband commented that they would never see anything like that in China, where Falun Dafa practitioners are brutally persecuted. They were so happy to see practitioners in the parade in Ireland. The couple said they would withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party organisations they had joined.
Two Irish girls liked the practitioners’ float so much that they followed them all along the parade route. They said they wanted to learn more about Falun Dafa and gave their contact information to a practitioner to be informed of introductory classes.
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 and regions 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.
Jiang Zemin, former head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), perceived the spiritual discipline’s growing popularity as a threat to the CCP’s atheistic ideology, and on July 20, 1999, he issued an order to eradicate the practice.
Under Jiang’s personal direction, the CCP established the 610 Office, an extralegal security organisation with the power to override the police and judicial systems and whose sole function is to carry out the persecution of Falun Dafa.
Minghui.org has confirmed the deaths of thousands of practitioners as a result of the persecution over the past 23 years. The actual number is believed to be much higher. Countless practitioners have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith.
There is concrete evidence that the CCP sanctions the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply China’s organ transplant industry.
Chinese version available
Ireland: Falun Dafa Group Performs in St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Galway