New Law Gives New Yorkers Another Holiday Off Every Year
One year after Juneteenth became an official day off for schoolchildren, another holiday will now be keeping everyone home for another day every year.
Governor Kathy Hochul signed new legislation on Saturday designating a new holiday that would force schools to close for an additional day each year.
It's not common for schools to get more days off added to their calendars, but in two years New York State has added two new holidays for schoolchildren.
New York State introduced Juneteenth as a holiday in 2020 and later passed legislation making it an official state holiday. Schools added the annual day off to their calendars in 2021, but since June 19 fell on a Saturday that year, many schools didn't recognize the holiday for the first time until 2023.
A New Holiday For New York Schools
On Saturday, Kathy Hochul signed legislation that amends the education law to declare the Asian Lunar New Year a public school holiday statewide. The holiday celebrates the beginning of spring and the start of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. It's an extremely important holiday in China as well as South Korea, Vietnam and other countries with a large population of Chinese citizens.
The holiday is celebrated differently in each culture but generally is considered a time to be with family and mark the start of the new year.
What Day Will Schools Get Off Each Year?
Since it doesn't follow the Roman calendar that we use, the Lunar New Year does not happen on a set date each year. Because it celebrates the beginning of the lunisolar calendar year, the holiday doesn't annually occur on the same date that school districts follow.
The next Lunar New Year will kick off the Year of the Dragon on Saturday, February 10. So, just like the first year Juneteenth became a school holiday, most students won't be getting the day off unless school districts decide to observe the holiday on Friday.
The majority of New York State school districts will most likely recognize Lunar New Year for the first time in 2025 when the Year of the Snake begins on Wednesday, January 29.
Hochul Explains the Importance of the Lunar New Year
Hochul signed the legislation and addressed members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
By designating Lunar New Year as an official school holiday, we are taking an important step in recognizing the importance of New York’s AAPI community and the rich diversity that makes New York so great.
The governor says that the holiday isn't just a day off from school, but "an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate their own or different cultures and traditions".
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