NEW YORK—Expect to spot bright yellow t-shirts displaying the words “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance” all over this city in the coming week. More than 10,000 practitioners of Falun Dafa, who take the three words as guiding principles, are arriving here from around the world to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day on May 13th.
Local practitioners have planned a week of events, some to celebrate the practice, others to call for an end to its persecution in China. The practice was forbidden in China in 1999, but is practiced freely all over the world, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
The events kicked off on Saturday with a group exercise session in Central Park. Close to 1,000 people participated. The sight of 1,000 people moving in sync to peaceful music is harmonizing and uplifting. Similar to Tai Chi, the exercises consist of five sets of slow-moving movements including meditation, performed with an audio accompaniment.
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Falun Dafa elsewhere in the city by checking the event listing for May 13–15 below.
Tuesday, May 13th, World Falun Dafa Day
Morning Falun Dafa Exercises
Witness a large group of Falun Dafa practitioners from all over the world perform the exercises of the practice, which are similar in form to qigong. Learn the simple exercises on the spot. Tuesday’s exercise practice is particularly unique, since attendees will be dressed in business formal.
7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Union Square, Manhattan, between 14 to 17 streets and Broadway
Wednesday, May 14
Large Group Exercise and Character Formation
Wednesday presents another opportunity to witness a large group performing the Falun Dafa exercises, this time on the shore of the East River in Queens. This event is worth the trip because practitioners will line up to form large characters. Visitors can also learn the Falun Dafa exercises. Exercises instructions are free charge, as are all Falun Dafa activities.
8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
4-09 47th Road, Long Island City
Rally to End the Persecution at the United Nations
The Dag Hammarskjold Plaza has been host to Falun Dafa rallies for over a decade. Falun Dafa practitioners are persecuted brutally in China, so those outside the regime’s grip hold public rallies to expose the persecution and end it. The rallies often include moving stories from those who have been persecuted as well as voices of support from those who have learned the truth about the tragedy in China.
The rally begins at 11:30 a.m.
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
UN Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park, at 47th Street and 2nd Avenue
The highlight of the week’s public events is the grand parade. The Tianguo Marching Band, decked in blue and white, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience… and that’s just the first section. A floating Chinese dragon, heavenly beauties dressed in traditional silk gowns, floats, banners, and more will all fill one of Manhattan’s concrete valleys.
The precise location is yet to be announced, with logistics around President Barack Obama’s visit to the city complicating the final decision. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday said that the parade permit request will get a fair hearing.
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location to be announced.
Protest at the Chinese Consulate
Falun Dafa practitioners regularly gather in front of the Chinese consulate on the far West Side of 42nd St. Year after year they gather peacefully, meditate, and hold banners calling for the end of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China.
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
42nd Street and 12th Avenue, Manhattan
Thursday, May 15th
World Falun Dafa Day Performances and Large Group Practice at Union Square
People from all over the world will gather at Union Square to perform the Falun Dafa exercises in the morning and watch dance, music, and martial arts performances. Practitioners from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and South America are expected to attend.
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Union Square, at 14th Street and 4th Avenue
Wall of the Truth at United Nations
Falun Dafa practitioners will form a long wall holding colorful banners which call for an end to the persecution of the practice in China
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
47th Street and 2nd Avenue
Group Practice in Times Square
For some early day tranquility in the stressful city, stop by Times Square to witness 200 Falun Dafa practitioners from Europe perform the peaceful, meditative exercises of the practice. Last chance to learn during Falun Dafa week.
8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
47 Street and 7 Avenue, Daffy Square at Times Square