(Minghui.org) This year’s Easter Gala Parade in Bendigo, the fourth largest city in Victoria, Australia, was held on Sunday April 9, 2023. This parade is the most important event in the four-day-long celebrations.

Bendigo, once an important gold mining town, is around two hours’ drive from Melbourne. An estimated 100,000 people live in the city. The annual community Easter celebrations have become a top tourist destination for many families. In particular, the grand parade draws throngs of people to Bendigo from Melbourne and surrounding areas.

After the COVID outbreak, the parade was initially scheduled to return last year. However, due to bad weather, it was canceled at the last minute. Consequently, people have eagerly awaited this beloved parade for four years.

Although it was cloudy the morning the day of the parade, with occasional showers and rather chilly, the weather did not stop people from coming out early. Both sides of the main roads in the city center, outdoor dining areas in nearby restaurants and all areas near the main parade route were packed with people.

The parade began at 12:30 p.m. Various community groups made up of different ethnic groups participated in the parade, displaying Bendigo’s unique cultural makeup.

Falun Dafa practitioners were once again invited to participate in this year’s parade. Practitioners from Melbourne and Sydney introduced this mind-body cultivation practice through a variety of colorful displays and performances that included the Tian Guo Marching Band and traditional waist drummers.

Over 100 Falun Dafa practitioners from Melbourne and Sydney took part in the Easter Gala Parade in Bendigo on April 9, 2023.


I Am Delighted to Invite Them Every Year

Parade organiser, Bendigo city tourism and major events manager Terry Karamaloudis said, “Fifty-five groups participated this year, the greatest event of the state! This is an all time favorite for me. It is great to have Falun Dafa as a part of the parade again.”

He was impressed by the energy exuded by practitioners and said, “The performance is outstanding. Your group are great support for our Easter festival. Very entertaining! Always beautifully presented and so it’s a pleasure to have you in the parade each year.”

Terry Karamaloudis, Bendigo city’s tourism and major events manager who organised the parade, has his photo taken with practitioners.


It Is Great that You Promote the Values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance

Terry feels that Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are very important, “The world today is fragile. These are outstanding values, it is good to have you spreading them.”

“You are living examples of these values,” he added. “Look at the challenges you’ve got here, the collaboration, and the different sections in the parade organised by your group. You also have beautiful young kids who are learning about these values, then they will carry that in the next generation, it’s fantastic.”

Mr. Karamaloudis said he would recommend the values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to communities a hundred percent. “I am a father. I love all people. I think we all come together to make the community what it is. The contribution of the Falun Dafa group is outstanding and it is great to see you again this year.”


“My Children Say Practitioners Are Angels”

Sally Reiffel has three children and is a community project manager for a non-profit organisation. Her family moved from Melbourne to Bendigo six years ago to pursue a simpler, rural life.

She said she saw the parade before and had a deep impression of Falun Dafa practitioners’ performance. “I saw all the beautiful costumes of the Falun Dafa group,” she said. “I think it is a beautiful celebration of peace and mindfulness. I am aware of some of the background in terms of people not being able to practice in China, so it is really wonderful that it is celebrated here. I believe in religious freedom so I am really happy to see that they are able to be in this parade as well and support those who are able to practice here.

“And also they are very beautiful to watch. My children thought so too. They say they are fairy angels.”

Sally Reiffel loved the practitioners’ performances.


“I Hope Our Children Will Grow Up With These Values”

“For me, I think my work as a social worker centers around compassion,” Ms. Reiffel explained. “And so any group of people who are making sure that [value] is enforced in everyone’s mind is doing a really important job. Because it is very easy for people to be solely worrying about themselves. We need a reminder that we are part of the bigger society and we need compassion for others.

“There is not enough truthfulness in the world, so these are really important reminders and I really appreciate their efforts.

“From the family point of view, I would hope that we still have these values in our children, so I think it is a great thing to ensure that these values are actually instilled in our children for them to grow up into strong, truthful human beings,” Ms. Reiffel emphasised. “Practitioners’ efforts are worthwhile. Absolutely. I love it, please keep doing it, I think it is wonderful. I wish you all well and I really hope to see Falun Dafa at every single Bendigo celebration from now on.” She added that she would look up the Falun Dafa website to find out more about the practice.


“Everyone Should be Inspired by the Values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance”

Greg Fawcett is a senior facility manager in a new start up business, and the manager of the Bendigo Highland Pipe Band. He said, “Everyone should be inspired by the values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. These values are what we all need.”

Mike Campbell, an engineer who manages his own repairs company, agreed that the values shared by practitioners are, “Totally important, as we all need to be inspired to in our daily life, day to day.”

Greg Fawcett (right) manager of the Bendigo Highland Pipe Band and band member Mike Campbell.


The Tian Guo Marching Band Is One of the Parade Highlights

Greg and Mike heard the Tian Guo Marching Band’s rehearsal before the start of the parade. They said the performance and attire of the band were professional.

Both of them are long time members of the Bendigo Highland Pipe Band. Greg is one of the band’s managers. The band was established in 1937 and is one of Bendigo’s longest serving pipe band.

Greg said of the Tian Guo Marching Band members, “Although they play in their spare time, they sound very professional.” Mike said, “I heard them while they were rehearsing and they were great, very classical.”

Greg continued, “I think they will be one of the highlights of today’s parade. They are fantastic. No one in Bendigo can compete with them. They are a big, well performed, well rehearsed, very professional band.”


We Need to Follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance

Massage therapist Kate Roberts has been operating her own business for four years. She said excitedly, “Our family drove ten hours from New South Wales to watch the parade.”

“Falun Dafa practitioners’ performance is good. We thought it’s very beautiful, and they look very peaceful. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance—the values are good and that’s how it should be. We need these principles for my business as I have to be compassionate to people [who are] in a vulnerable state. It does help with what I do. I’ll try to follow these principles.

“There is not much of these values in my generation at all. We have a very self-centered society, so it is a good idea to spread these values. We need more understanding at the community level in order to create a better world.”

Her son Patrick added, “This is the one of the best performances. It was worth ten hours of driving.”

Kate Roberts, a massage therapist who is a business owner, and her son Patrick


Thrilled to See Falun Dafa Practitioners in the Parade

Meg Grainger is a social worker. She kept taking photos and waving to practitioners as they marched past her in the parade. “I thought they were terrifically united, they did a great job and I was really curious about them. I wanted to know their story as I watched them perform.

“I can tell they work so hard. I thought the music was really lovely, I felt quite emotional because I understood that in China Falun Dafa is not accepted [by the CCP]. I felt quite emotional about that because I guess I had empathy and felt strongly that it must be very hard for some of the people involved. I thought it is wonderful they are free to practice their religion here. I think we cannot take that for granted.”

Falun Dafa practictioners sailing down the street showing the practices beauty



Background: What Is Falun Dafa and Why Is the CCP Persecuting It?

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, though due to the difficulty in getting information out of China, 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.

Bendigo: Falun Dafa Participates in Easter Parade for 16th Year