Boston designates Lunar New Year as an official city holiday

A card for prosperity in the new year at the Delight Corner on Oxford Street. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A card for prosperity in the new year at the Delight Corner on Oxford Street. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Lunar New Year will be designated as an official holiday in the city of Boston. The new holiday will be observed starting Feb. 10, 2024.

The city council passed a resolution supporting the idea at its Feb. 15 meeting. The vote brings Boston in step with California, where Lunar New Year is a state holiday, and New York City, which recently approved it as a school holiday.

Lunar New Year is widely celebrated in many Asian cultures, including in China, Vietnam and Korea, and is observed by these countries' diaspora communities throughout U.S. In Boston, there are annual celebrations from the Têt in Boston festival, to the Chinese New Year and lion dance parade in Chinatown.

“AAPIs have always been an integral part of our city and our country, yet they have faced strong institutional discrimination and racism throughout history,” said Boston City Council President Flynn in a statement, citing the city's large population of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders largely concentrated in Chinatown and Dorchester.

The resolution was co-sponsored by councilors Erin Murphy and Ruthzee Louijeune.

“Designating Lunar New Year as an official holiday would be an appropriate way to recognize their significant contributions and the cultural diversity they bring to the City of Boston," Flynn added.

Celebrations throughout the U.S. were overshadowed this year by grief over the 11 people killed in a mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, during a Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 21. The shooter also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.

A day after the shooting, Boston officials condemned the violence at a Lunar New Year event Chinatown.

Traditionally, Lunar New Year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and celebrations often run into early February.

With reporting contributions from WBUR's News Desk.


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