Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Saturday declaring Asian Lunar New Year a public school holiday across New York state. 

The legislation requires all public schools to close for the Lunar New Year holiday.     

“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,” Hochul said in a statement. “It is not just a day off from school – it is an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate their own or different cultures and traditions.” 

The governor’s office says Hochul remains “committed to supporting, protecting, and celebrating New York’s AAPI community,” and highlighted the $30 million in awards allocated for community organizations through Asian American Federation and the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. The funding aims to provide culturally responsive and linguistically competent services and address systemic violence, racism and discrimination faced by the AAPI community, according to the governor’s office.    

“Making Lunar New Year a holiday for New York's public schools is a direct result of the hard work of the Assembly Majority and the dedicated members of our Asian Pacific Task Force,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement. “New York State is beautifully diverse, with people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds living, working and raising families together. The Lunar New Year holiday will give thousands of Asian students in our state the ability to gather together and celebrate with family and friends without having to sacrificing their education. I hope this will also shine a light on the culture and traditions of our Asian friends and neighbors, and in a time where we have seen hate and violence against Asian communities, this will open people’s eyes, encouraging tolerance and acceptance. I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and signing this important legislation.” 

In May, Heastie announced his chamber plans to pass legislation making both Lunar New Year and Diwali in New York.

Earlier this year, the state Senate approved a measure that would allow students at the State University of New York and City University of New York public college and university campuses to observe Lunar New Year without being penalized.