Thursday 14th December 2017,

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Wall Street Journal: White House Petitioned to Make Lunar New Year a Federal Holiday

posted by Randall

Lion DanceA move is afoot to convince the federal government to make the start of Lunar New Year a federal holiday. 36,000 people have signed a petition on whitehouse.gov supporting the idea.

A blog by Jeff Yang in the Wall Street Journal acknowledges the proposal is a long shot, but hey, discussing any holiday is food for thought, and what would any discussion of Lunar New Year be without food. Right?

“My husband and I have to work and our kids have to go to school while the biggest celebration of our heritage is going on, and in elementary school, Chinese New Year gets just a passing mention,” notes blogger Grace Hwang Lynch in the Wall Street Journal   “That’s if it doesn’t fall on the same date as Valentine’s Day.”

The prapmatic point out that other prominent cultural and religious holidays aren’t recognized by the Federal Government.

“Easter, Passover and Ramadan aren’t U.S. federal holidays, despite being observed by far larger segments of the population than those who observe Lunar New Year,” says Reappropriate’s Jenn Fang, whose written about the idea herself. “I think Asian American and other cultures that observe Lunar New Year are right to advocate for greater prominence . But I think we should be working to change the social and cultural diversity of the U.S. by normalizing Lunar New Year celebrations, not by advocating for a top-down approach wherein Lunar New Year becomes a federal holiday.”

  So where do you fall on this idea? Should we make Lunar New Year a federal holiday. Discuss it here.

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5 Comments

  1. Rene Astudillo says:

    Absolutely not. Unless we also make Rosh Hashanah , Ramadan and other religious/cultural observances federal holidays as well.

  2. randallyip2012 says:

    I see your point, Renee. But it can also be argued that an African American is honored with MLK, California honors Cesar Chavez with a holiday. What do Asians have? Some states honor Fred Korematsu, but its not a holiday.

  3. Jenn says:

    MLK Day honours the civil rights movement, which benefitted all Americans, not just African Americans, and which is an arguable landmark moment in American history — I don't think it's a day reserved just for African Americans. I agree that state-level holidays are completely appropriate if they arise out of local advocacy. To that end, our community should support Korematsu Day and work to make it state-level and/or school holidays at the local level. But I don't know what the argument would be that we need a federal "Asian American" day. I mean, federal holidays shouldn't be doled out like microtargeted special interest hand-outs.

  4. Irene Shen says:

    Totally agree with Jenn on the MK point. I am more inclined to push for Loving Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_Day) than Lunar New Year as a candiate for federal holiday. Should Cinco De Mayo, St. Patrick's Day, or Yom Kippur be federal holidays as well? If you want to take a day off on Lunar New Year, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, or Father's Day that is your own decision and should not be a federal mandate.

  5. Randall says:

    Whether there's a holiday or not, we need to do a better job in this country of recognizing the contributions of ALL the people. We the people, for the people… that make up the stain glass window we call the United States of America. Strike up John Philip Sousa here 🙂

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