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Colorado celebrates its first Lunar New Year as a state holiday

Lunar New Year has a different significance in Colorado this year.

East and Southeast Asians have been celebrating the holidays for years there, but this year for the first time it’s recognized as an official state holiday.

Denverite reports the holiday is largely symbolic as it remains unpaid. Still the signing of the law by Gov. Jared Polis is significant for those who celebrate.

“Asians and Asian Americans have been here since early on in the 1800s and our presence has been overlooked as well as undervalued as far as so many of the… not just contributions, but for the richness of our history that began centuries and centuries ago in our respective homelands, but also what we bring here as a diaspora,” Vương-Sandoval said.

Colorado is the second state in the nation to officially recognize Lunar New Year, the other is California. Washington could be the next as a bill is making its way through the legislature, according to KREM.

“We are a welcoming community, and we want to make sure that that signal is planted, it is a tough area, we are not the most diverse areas. So these kinds of efforts that are statewide, really are helpful to making sure that our children, my kids, and the folks in our region are getting the full cultural understanding and education,” said Rep Marcus Ricceli who is co-sponsoring the bill authored by Rep. My-Linh Thai.

Other states that recognize Lunar New Year are New York and New Jersey.

“Our children should not have to feel that they navigate the space of being seen as foreigners versus being accepted as American, simply because of their appearance,” Thai said to ABC.

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