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City Council votes to designate Lunar New Year as an official school holiday (again) in New York City

The City Council voted Thursday on a decision to undertake Lunar New Year as an official annual school holiday in New York City. 

Former Mayor Invoice de Blasio had beforehand designated Lunar New Year a public school holiday in 2015. However this yr, the New York City Division of Training didn’t designate Lunar New Year, which fell on Sunday, Jan. 22, this yr, as a school holiday. Not even a Monday observance was acknowledged.

“Lunar New Year is one of the most important annual celebrations for our Asian communities,” Councilmember Chris Marte mentioned. “Unfortunately, while Lunar New Year is recognized as a city holiday, the DOE has not allowed students to have a day off when the first day of the new year falls on a weekend. This caused a lot of confusion for students, and kept them from fully celebrating with their families.”

amNewYork Metro has reached out to the Division of Training for remark, and is awaiting a response. 

Wayne Ho, the president of Chinese language-American Planning Council, which serves 280,000 New Yorkers, mentioned the group was upset with the omission of the Lunar New Year from the town holiday calendar. 

“Many in the community, including community members were disappointed and angry at the mayoral office and DOE for not recognizing Lunar New Year as a holiday and letting students off on Monday,” Ho mentioned. “It’s repeating the sins of the past where students are getting pulled out of school and employees need to take time off to celebrate one of the most important holidays.”

Marte described the weeks of Lunar New Year celebration that falls inside his district: parades, lion dances, firework viewings, and road festivals. Confetti traces each block and you should buy oranges on each nook. He famous the excessive numbers of supporters from the Chinatown, Flushing, and Sundown Park neighborhoods who testified at a group listening to on the decision final month.

“The pandemic and rise in anti-Asian hate crimes led to families staying inside,” Marte mentioned. “But this year, Chinatown came out in full force, proving the resiliency and strength of this immigrant community.”

Asians comprise 17% of New York City’s inhabitants, or roughly 1.5 million individuals. The Lunar New Year, which celebrates the start of the brand new yr with its first moon cycle, is honored by billions of Chinese language, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Tibetan individuals throughout Asia and around the globe.

“Too often, decision makers and policymakers always play this game that if they do it for one group they have to do it for all groups,” Ho mentioned. “There are so many holidays that DOE recognizes like, Chancellor’s Day. If they were concerned about the 180 days of instruction, they could have taken away some of the other holidays in late June with these random holidays.” 

The City Council additionally adopted Councilmember Sandra Ung’s decision on Feb. 2 urging Congress to designate Lunar New Year as a federally acknowledged holiday. Ung mentioned the designation would acknowledge the Asian American group, the quickest rising demographic in the nation.

“Lunar New Year is an extremely important holiday in New York City,” Marte mentioned. “It’s long overdue that our city recognizes this as an official holiday and that our Department of Education makes this an official school holiday as well.”

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