NYC Lawmakers Want Lunar New Year To Be School Holiday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork / AP) – Today is the Asian Lunar New Year.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On The Story

Millions of ethnic Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese across Asia are ringing in the new Year of the Dragon with fireworks, feasting and family reunions.

New York City also has a large Asian population.

That’s why St. Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Grace Meng are the main sponsors of a bill that would designate this day as a school holiday.

“One in six New York City schoolchildren celebrates lunar new year. They shouldn’t have to choose between spending the most important holiday of the year with their family and missing class. This bill would solve that,” Squadron told WCBS 880 reporter Rich Lamb on Monday.

Squadron says it would have symbolic value.

“Look, the entire world is here in New York and lunar new year is an incredibly important holiday for the city and the state. It shows that we are a city where the whole world is welcomed and can participate,” he said.

Squadron says it is a big deal and we should all be celebrating.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond In Chinatown

Chinatown’s celebration of the Year of the Dragon is an assault on the senses – loud drums, smoky fireworks, and colorful costumes.

“It’s a great celebration to bring all families together. But for the community, for small business, it means a lot more visitors that will patronize their business and support them,” said City Councilwoman Margaret Chin.

She says it’s Chinatown’s busiest week.

“And it’s just a wonderful way to really share the Chinese culture with the rest of the city, and also visitors from around the world,” she told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

From Beijing to Bangkok and Seoul to Singapore, people hoping for good luck in the new year that began Monday are visiting temples and lighting incense, setting off firecrackers and watching street performances of lion and dragon dances.

For many, the Lunar New Year is the biggest family reunion of the year for which people endured hours of cramped travel on trains and buses to get home.

In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor, and it is considered to be an extremely auspicious sign.

Do you think that it should be a school holiday? Sound off in the comments section below!

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • doc

    I vote yes.

  • glad

    Jewish holidays were given as days off because in the 70’s 70% percent of the teachers were Jewish and it was hard to find so many subs. Now that has changed so I guess the school can change their days off to for other ethnic groups.

  • Ziggy

    China is the only ancient civilization that still exists today. The Lunar New Year is celebrated by, probably, 1/3 of the people on earth. America is made up of emigrants and the diversity is what makes this country strong. We will all benefit in embracing this diversity instead of fearing and mocking other cultures.

    Remember, America, with the help of China help end the U.S. – Soviet cold war era.

    There is alot we can learn from other cultures.

  • fritz von

    I think it’s wonderful how we can make racist jokes when Asians are involved. I guess because they aren’t gonna do anything violent, they’re no threat, unlike some of the savage groups.

  • Glee

    There are approximately 13 Jewish holidays a year, many of which the public schools are closed in observance. Lunar New Year is the most important holiday for most Asians, as a symbol of mutual respect and fairness, schools should be closed for the Lunar New Year.

  • Dimsum Harry

    Eh speak engrrrish preeze fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra ra.

    • Northstar

      Dimwit Harry is more like it! Apparently, your intellect never progressed beyond your limited vocabulary. Go visit other countries, expand your mind, your boundaries, and get some perspective in your life, otherwise you are doomed to live the rest of your life in a shell, surrounded by other neanderthals. Is that what you want? Never mind, don’t bother spewing more of your hatred, I forgot, a stone has more respect & intelligence for the world than you.

  • DW

    This is not an American holdiay. PERIOD.

    • Ziggy

      What are American Holidays?
      I can think of six federal holidays unique to America – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day.
      States have their own holidays to honor their specific historical events. – Emancipation Day, Fat Tuesday, etc.

      • Ziggy

        That should be seven holidays unique to America.

  • Elena

    ETHNIC holidays and RELIGIOUS holidays are not the same. Schools are closed for the major religious holidays. Ethnic holidays should be celebrated as families see fit, but schools should be open.

    • Social Diversity

      So you’re saying we should only observe religion and not ethnicity?

    • My opinion

      What happened to separation of church and state?

  • Juan Hung Lo

    Will we get 50% off sushi? If so, make it two holidays.

    • @hung lo

      Sushi is Japanese and you are a moron.

      • k

        Fiy Japanese celebrate lunar New years too

  • yes to more holidays!

    What is up with all the hatred? what about the many Jewish holidays that are being recognized and honored in work and school? They also have parking oberservances for the jews for goodness sakes! calm your asses!!!

  • J9

    ARe these two high? This is America, we celebrate our holidays. If we were to give a day off of school for every ethnic holiday, they would never be in school. What happened to t his country where America is no longer America? The rest of the world can have their own holidays, language, history, but no, not America. We must show the world that we are the world. Is that it you liberals? Distgusting…. we have our holidays and other countries have theirs. Leave it alone.

    • j9

      Should I expect another country to cancel schools for Thanksgiving? I guess all Americans living abroad should start demanding time off and recognition for Thanksgiving. Of course I wouldn’t. It’s an American holiday and if I should live outside of the U.S., I would never another country to do what these nitwits are trying to do.

      • doc

        K9, calm down dog! They are not asking for a national holiday like Dr. Kings birthday. What they are asking, Lunar New Year off is unique to NYC’s diversity. I say yes! Chill.

  • Anthony Flynn

    What a bunch of small-minded bigots!
    Yes to the holiday.

    • Dennis Dingberry

      You tell em’ mick, go boil a potato.

  • RJG

    There are already too many days off from school. How are grades suppose to get better when kids are spending so much time out of school? Businesses don’t get these extra days, so parents have to arrange for sitters or miss a day of work themselves. The kids should have the same holidays that businesses celebrate, then maybe you’ll see progress in school.

  • dr meh

    Ok to pugphan can we start by eliminating several jewish holidays which are always days off in the public schools. How many kids are of Jewish heritage nowdays in public schools anyways?

    • val

      Plenty. And those are religious holidays. Not the same thing.

  • NYGirl

    How dare these Senators. With all the problems going on this is a priority? This is AMERICA. When you come to our country adhere to our holidays. This is why I think we should stop flooding our country with all these foreigners and get rid of all these liberal senators. Vote them all out people.

    • doc

      Ooooo.. where’s your great, great grand parent from? Are you too ashame to admit your heritage? Schniff D’ rump wanted to smell you big fat ahole.

    • Schniff D'rump

      You tell em’ NYGirl, make em’ smell your ass.

  • Ophelia Eggrolls

    Yes, it should be a holiday. Those poor Asian kids are in school 24/7. Give them some time off to do their homework.

    • jacky chan

      suck on some eggrolls til duck sauce oozes

  • frankiet

    no more holidays. no reason not to celebrate your day. take it off from school but dont make everyone have it off. this is america and cannot celebrate and close schools for every ethnic and religious holiday. that’s one of the reasons why are children are failing

    • Michael H.

      “why are children are failing”

      so close…

  • diver

    I agree with pugphan we have too many holidays. Let’s eliminate all the “christian” holidays as well since we are a multi cultural nation.

  • pugphan

    We have too many damned holidays as it is…give us a break already. This is a
    predominantly “Christian Nation!” Deal with it! Everybody’s trying to piggy back
    on our holy days. When is it going to stop? Enuff ahweady. smokersodysseycom

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live