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A New York congresswoman wants to make Chinese New Year a fed holiday, introduces bill

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On Monday, a New York congressman presented legislation to make the Lunar New Year a nationally recognized holiday in the United States.

“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,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng from New York City borough of Queens.

For the past two years, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have faced racist verbal, physical, and sometimes lethal attacks across the country, driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the start of the Lunar New Year, many people are looking forward to carrying out family traditions and participating in community activities throughout February.

Family meals and the distribution of red envelopes containing money are examples of these activities. New York, Chicago, and San Francisco are among the cities hosting parades in their respective Chinatowns later this month.

The Year of the Tiger, which represents power and courage in the Chinese zodiac, is also the ideal time to persuade Asian elders who have lived in terror due to rampant anti-Asian attitude to partake in the festivities.

“The time has come to make this happen. My bill, coupled with my resolution, would demonstrate that the holiday celebrated by millions is also valued by their government,” Meng added.

The congresswoman also proposed a House resolution honoring Lunar New Year’s cultural and historical significance.

On Tuesday, she celebrated the first anniversary of Lunar New Year becoming a school holiday in New York City, a public holiday she helped to establish in 2016.

While most Lunar New Year celebrations were canceled last year due to COVID-19, many outdoor events are returning this year, with organizers encouraging public masking but requiring masking for workers.

In San Francisco, the parades will include floats, marching bands, lion dances, and even “Star Wars” cosplayers.

Image Credit: Getty

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