Councillors Seek To Make Lunar New Year A Holiday

By SCOTT JACKSON

An ordinance cosponsored by five city councillors would make Lunar New Year a legal holiday in the city of Quincy.

Councillors Nina Liang, Scott Campbell, Noel DiBona, Richard Ash and Ian Cain on Monday introduced an ordinance to establish the day as a legal holiday. The order was referred to the council’s ordinance committee for review. The committee is slated to take up the matter on May 6.

The ordinance says that, according to the 2020 federal census, 30.8 percent of Quincy’s population is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), the second highest AAPI population in the state. AAPI students also comprise 39.3 percent of Quincy Public Schools students, the largest demographic in the school district.

The ordinance states that “Lunar New Year is observed not only by those in the AAPI community, but also simply by anyone who chooses to celebrate it” and “municipalities across the country, and specifically ones in Massachusetts who have a fraction of the AAPI population as Quincy, have chosen to recognize that Lunar New Year is a holiday for their community at large.”

“Observing Lunar New Year, like any other holiday, prioritizes the coming together of family and loved ones in the days leading up to, during, and following that holiday… [and] the formal recognition of holidays by governance as a ‘legal holiday’ directly impacts the time and sentiment given to that holiday,” the ordinance says.

To that end, the ordinance would recognize Lunar New Year as a legal holiday in the city, “thereby honoring the day with the closure of municipal agencies, authorities, quasi-public entities, and other offices under the jurisdiction of the municipality when said day occurs on a weekday, the Friday before when it occurs on a Saturday, and the Monday following when it occurs on a Sunday.”

Liang on Monday thanked her colleagues for co-sponsoring the measure with her. Liang added that there are some “technical difficulties” related to the ordinance that can be worked out in committee.

“I don’t think any of them are insurmountable,” she said. “I’m excited to put this into ordinance committee so we can have a much larger, more robust conversation about those technical difficulties and hopefully we can move forward.”

The ordinance to make Lunar New Year a legal holiday was introduced less than two weeks after the School Committee, in a 4-2 vote, approved a calendar for the 2024-25 academic year that keeps schools open on Lunar New Year in 2025. Mayor Thomas Koch, the chairperson of the School Committee, and Courtney Perdios voted against the calendar because it did not include a day off for Lunar New Year. While Koch said he supports making the day a school holiday, the mayor previously told his colleagues on the school board he had concerns about making it a holiday on the city side.

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