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  • Maxx Huang

Why We Should Have a Break for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays around the world, celebrated by over two billion people, primarily those of Asian descent or those  in Asian countries. Being one of these people, it still shocks me that many schools throughout the United States are not celebrating it, and here are a couple of reasons why I think we should start.

  1. We want to build a culturally inclusive environment.

The Edgemont School District takes pride in being an inclusive community for all peoples of all cultures, and adding the Lunar New Year as a short break would give it more exposure among students. When a holiday with a break is around the corner, teachers and students tend to bring up more discussions about the holiday, helping everyone be more culturally conscious and knowledgeable. 

  1. We need to establish more cultural awareness for people of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) ethnicity.

More than a third of Edgemont’s student body is from Asian ethnic backgrounds (such as China, Korea, and Japan). Edgemont celebrates several important holidays for other cultures and religions, such as the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Passover and Indigenous Peoples Day or Columbus Day. However, there isn’t a school holiday celebrating Asian culture. Having a school holiday for the Lunar New Year would help bring more awareness to the AAPI cultures and increase feelings of inclusion.

  1. We can learn valuable lessons by celebrating Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday for many Asian cultures; it is a time for family and friends to gather and cherish their company and to culminate a year’s hard work. As one fellow student stated, “‘important would be an understatement.” The Lunar New Year is “an intimate holiday that provides an opportunity to connect with family, friends, and community over a shared culture that is central to their identity.” It is a crucial time for many Asians to celebrate their culture and heritage, helping them stick together and reinforce feelings of community and pride.

  1. More time for kids who celebrate to celebrate.

Without a doubt, school can be rigorous, and it is hard to balance school, extracurriculars, and other activities. Students who celebrate the Lunar New Year may need to get together with family or go attend local celebration events, and a break would allow a smooth and stress-free celebration. Also, nobody would complain about a couple days off. 

  1. Many other school districts are beginning to include Lunar New Year as a holiday.

Many states, such as New York, California, and Colorado, are leading the charge in making the Lunar New Year a state holiday. Public schools in New York City have added Lunar New Year into their school calendar. Boston even made the Lunar New Year an official city holiday, giving the day off to government workers. I believe schools across the U.S. should follow in their footsteps.

  1. What students are saying:

An overwhelming amount of Edgemont students support this cause. In a survey issued to Edgemont students, over 87% agreed that Lunar New Year should be a holiday. Roughly 50% of respondents to the survey identified as Asian, showing that there is support coming from both people of all ethnicities, not just those who fall under the category of AAPI. Also of note, nearly 40% of respondents said that they celebrated Lunar New Year.

In conclusion, Lunar New Year is an extremely important holiday celebrated by many around the world, and it should be celebrated at Edgemont too.


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