Queens lawmaker introduces bill to make Lunar New Year a federal holiday

File photo courtesy of Rep. Grace Meng’s office

As Asian Americans ring in the Year of the Tiger on Tuesday, Feb. 1, Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng has introduced new legislation to create a federal holiday for Lunar New Year.

Meng’s measure, the “Lunar New Year Day Act,” would make Lunar New Year a federally recognized holiday in the United States, adding it to the list of 11 federal holidays that are currently recognized. The bill was introduced with 44 cosponsors.

Meng also reintroduced a House resolution titled “Recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year in 2022,” which has 71 cosponsors. The resolution recognizes the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year, as well as wishing a happy and prosperous holiday to everybody celebrating, while also expressing the deepest respect for Asian Americans and all individuals throughout the world who observe the holiday. 

On Tuesday, Meng will also celebrate the anniversary of Lunar New Year becoming a school holiday in New York City, which she played a role in creating in 2016. The congresswoman first proposed closing New York City schools for Lunar New Year when she was a member of the New York State Legislature in 2009.

“For Asian Americans, Lunar New Year is an incredibly important, festive and deeply traditional holiday,” Meng said. “It’s the most significant time of year for the Asian American community and is celebrated in the U.S. and across the globe. It has also been observed for thousands of years. With Asian Americans being the fastest growing population in our country, and with the popularity of the holiday continuing to grow, it makes sense to make Lunar New Year a federal holiday. The time has come to make this happen.”

According to Meng, her bill, coupled with the resolution, would demonstrate that the holiday celebrated by millions is also valued by their government.

“I look forward to shepherding these measures through the House, and I am excited to wish everyone a very happy Lunar New Year!” Meng said.

Lunar New Year celebrates the culture, heritage and contributions of Asian Americans, and this year begins the year of the Tiger which symbolizes a competitive nature, courage and ambition.