Flushing councilwoman introduces resolution to designate Lunar New Year as a federal holiday

Lunar New Year
The Flushing Lunar New Year Parade was held on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Photo by Adrian Childress)

Flushing Councilwoman Sandra Ung on Wednesday, Dec. 7, introduced a resolution in the City Council to designate Lunar New Year as a federal holiday. 

Ung’s resolution is in support of the Lunar New Year Day Act (H.R. 6525), which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Grace Meng. 

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, will occur on Jan. 22, 2023. It is the most important celebration of the year for people across Asia and the rest of the world wherever large Asian communities exist, including NYC where Asians make up 15% of the population, Ung said. 

“Designating the day a federal holiday would not only allow those who celebrate to spend time with family and friends, it would also be an important recognition of the growing importance of the Asian community in the United States, especially in light of the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes,” Ung said. “I hope my colleagues in the City Council will join me in support of Congresswoman Meng’s bill to designate this important day a federal holiday.”

According to Meng, with Asian Americans being the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in the nation, it is only fitting that Lunar New Year is recognized as a federal holiday. 

“As we head into a new year, I will continue to keep up the fight in Congress, and I thank Council[woman] Ung for her support and partnership on this issue, and for highlighting my efforts in the New York City Council,” Meng said. 

Lunar New Year has its origins in China dating back more than 4,000 years. The celebration spread across Asia, and while it goes by different names in different countries and cultures, the term Lunar New Year encompasses all of the various festivals. The holiday, which takes place in either late January or early February and concludes 15 days later, is marked by elaborate celebrations in Flushing, Chinatown in Manhattan, and other parts of the city. 

In June 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio designated Lunar New Year a public school holiday in New York City. Since then, the Asian population in New York City has continued to grow. According to the U.S. Census, between 2010 and 2020, the Asian population grew by 29% in Queens and 43% in Brooklyn.