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Should the Start of Chinese New Year Be a Federal Holiday? 307

Posted by timothy
from the lunatic-idea dept.
First time accepted submitter CarlosF writes "Does Lunar New Year belong alongside those other red-letter days? Efforts to recognize Lunar New Year at the state and local level have been afoot for years. In 1994, San Francisco decided to close public schools on Lunar New Year, but this was largely a response to demographic reality rather than political pressure."
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Should the Start of Chinese New Year Be a Federal Holiday?

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  • Why not ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by prasadsurve (665770) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:08PM (#42852171)
    start celebrating Mexican holidays as well? They outnumber the Chinese in US.
    Lets not start going on that slippery slope.
    • by AK Marc (707885)
      It is not a Chinese holiday, any more than celebrating the Julian New Year would be celebrating a Roman holiday. The lunar calendar is universially recognized, even if not followed. The holiday is not Chinese, as many countries celebrate it.

      And yes, growing up in Texas, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, even if we didn't officially close on those days.

      Next you'll be asserting that we shouldn't celebrate Easter or Christmas because they are religious, and forcing people, by law, to observe a religious holiday
      • "And yes, growing up in Texas, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, even if we didn't officially close on those days."

        I think you have your head stuck in Texas. Because:

        1. BFD. People near the northern borders recognize Cinco de Mayo, too. But that's a far cry from making it a Federal holiday.

        2. I doubt it's as "international" as you say. I used to live in Texas. Including summer. And I never heard of Juneteenth until just now. I had to look it up on Wikipedia.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Wikipedia mentioned it as international. White people in Texas went out of their way to ignore it in Texas. Just like there were white people protesting MLK day in Texas when it was made official under Reagan. I didn't realize it was celebrated anywhere outside Texas until I was traveling internationally in June and saw reference to it. But then, I ate at Chili's #1 for years (said "restaurant #001" on the receipts), not realizing how big they were, until again, I was traveling internatoinally and saw o
      • And yes, growing up in Texas, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo

        Nitpick: Cinco de Mayo [wikipedia.org] is not a Mexican holiday. It commemorates a rather obscure event in Mexico's history, and most Mexicans do not celebrate it, and have probably never even heard of it. It is celebrated in the USA much more so than in Mexico, and is really more of an American "Chicano Pride" holiday than a Mexican one.

      • by paiute (550198)

        It is not a Chinese holiday, any more than celebrating the Julian New Year would be celebrating a Roman holiday. The lunar calendar is universially recognized, even if not followed. The holiday is not Chinese, as many countries celebrate it.

        Quick Google: Vietnam celebrates the same day, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand do not

    • Battle of Camarón is April 30th!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Camar%C3%B3n [wikipedia.org]

      I think March 6th is Alamo Day.

      It seems that Mexicans usually win their battles with the tried and true method of overwhelming their enemies by thousands to one.

    • by MarioMax (907837)

      Cinco de Mayo is almost a holiday in Arizona.

  • do not want (Score:5, Funny)

    by wickerprints (1094741) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:09PM (#42852181)

    Having to observe both American *and* Chinese holidays is a bit too much. Mid-Autumn festival, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the solar New Year, and the lunar New Year--and for each one I'm expected to go home and spend time with the parents. If the lunar new year becomes a federal holiday, there goes my last excuse!

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill@gmailPARIS.com minus city> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:15PM (#42852241)

    Well, we know the answer is no [wikipedia.org].

    The way it should go is exactly the way it will go: if the Chinese population in a given area is large enough that the inhabitants cannot ignore the celebration, they will recognise it. That area can be a county, state or country.

  • Please. No.

    I like paid days off as much as the next guy, but seriously, we are not in China.

    Slippery slope, blah, blah, blah...

    • by Maow (620678)

      Please. No.

      I like paid days off as much as the next guy, but seriously, we are not in China.

      Slippery slope, blah, blah, blah...

      We're not in Palestine / Bethlehem / where-ever, but Christmas & Easter are among our biggest sets of holidays.

      Also, Chinese New Year is celebrated in a lot more countries than just China.

      Another angle is, we need a break in the dark, dreary months between Xmas / New Year and ... Easter.

      A strike against Chinese New Year is that it's not on a constant day, but floats around the calendar.

      Also, since all the factories in China are closed for a week, a fair number of westerners whose work is liaising with t

      • Another angle is, we need a break in the dark, dreary months between Xmas / New Year and ... Easter.

        Then maybe you should do what we do down here - Mardi Gras ftw!

        Which is day after tomorrow, so tomorrow and Tuesday will be a nearly nonstop party....

        • by Maow (620678)

          Another angle is, we need a break in the dark, dreary months between Xmas / New Year and ... Easter.

          Then maybe you should do what we do down here - Mardi Gras ftw!

          Which is day after tomorrow, so tomorrow and Tuesday will be a nearly nonstop party....

          Mardi Gras sounds like a blast!

          It's also based on Lent, a religious holiday, from my understanding. But never-the-less, sounds freaking great. Enjoy!

          • Mardi Gras is only partly related to Lent; apparently there are also African traditions of having feast in the spring and using up the meat. (Having a big party to finish off the things you're not going to eat during a long solemn fasting holiday is kind of missing the point.)

            Also, Mardi Gras roughly tracks with Chinese Lunar New Year, because it's a fixed number of days before Easter, which was originally celebrated based on the Jewish lunar calendar, though the Romans munged the date into their solar cal

  • Of course. All those Chinese hackers trying to break into US Federal systems should be able to spend the holiday with their families.

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:22PM (#42852303)

    Shouldn't your question be "should it be a federal holiday in the USA"? It is already in China.

  • and Diwali?

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      I'd rather have Holi
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi [wikipedia.org]

      • Diwali celebrations have the good cookies.

        And while celebrating spring colors and throwing paint around are cool, witch-burning not so much. (I'm getting that phrase from the Wikipedia article, though she's described more as a demon than a witch.)

    • They are mentioned in the article actually...

      Really I think these are what "floater" holidays are designed for. For example Christmas should actually be converted to a floater holiday. For non-Christians it's basically a paid weekday off with little value since you can't get anything done because most places are closed. Come up with a set number, say 5, and make it federal law that all employers offer 5 "floater" holidays for religious observance. The law could require that they can be used like vacatio

      • by bsane (148894)

        For non-Christians it's basically a paid weekday off with little value since you can't get anything done because most places are closed

        Christmas is/was/has become (take your pick) a secular holiday for most people.

        • The traditional Jewish observance of Christmas is to go out for Chinese food and a movie. (At least in SF and NYC, perhaps other areas with large Jewish and Chinese populations.)

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        But floaters don't work once a certain level of observation is reached. Floaters work when 10% or less take it. But at 90% observation, you either have to refuse to allow people to observe it, or you have a store with no managers, a call center with no service reps. You are closed, even if 10% of the people show up. Floaters work for the 10% holidays, religious and ethnic ones that aren't the mainstream US/Christian ones. Most places I've worked have given Good Friday off (or at least officially closed
    • by Dr. Tom (23206)

      Darwin Day! Get ready ...

  • If I owed (Score:5, Funny)

    by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:38PM (#42852405)

    a loanshark an inconceivably large sum of money, and was only able to go about my business and you know, exist, because of the loanshark's continuing goodwill... I'd probably go out of my way to wish him happy birthday when it rolled around.

    Just saying.

  • and work a particular day only if no one minds.
  • The Pastafarian holiday International Talk Like a Pirate day: 19 September [rationalwiki.org], to not do so would be religious discrimination.

    • Oh, lordy me ... I was also forgetting May 4th -- International Star Wars day, the Jedi attacking me I don't want. You see: once we start having holidays for some groups, we have to have them for all of them!

    • Yarrr! But ye don't have ta take that day off, as long as yer boss is ok with ye talkin' like pirates at the office and doin' bad statistics!

      The place I worked in the 80s started getting more culturally sensitive and having a rotating variety of ethnic foods for lunch in the office cafeterias. It was in New Jersey, and that meant they did a much better job of doing Italian than other ethnic groups. But hey, if you want pasta for lunch, they can set you up.

  • Why National? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dave Emami (237460) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:54PM (#42852581) Homepage
    Emphasis mine:

    In 1994, San Francisco decided to close public schools on Lunar New Year, but this was largely a response to demographic reality rather than political pressure.

    Which is as it should be, and an indicator that federalism is working just fine, thank you very much. In an area where lots of people want to take the same day off, it's off. Otherwise, it's not. Heck, we could make Nooruz (Persian New Year) a national holiday, but I doubt there's a demand for that anywhere except in certain parts of Los Angeles. It would be nice for the various Slavic and Greek enclaves around the US if their New Year (based on the Julian rather than Gregorian calendar) was a national holiday. We could make Rosh Hashanah a national holiday, along with at least half a dozen different New Year days from India (it depends on the region). Etc. Etc. Etc.

    It's one thing to be respectful of minority groups, and for everyone to have the same legal rights regardless of ethnicity, religion, etc. That's as it should be. But it's an entirely-different thing to bend over backwards pretending that there are no minorities. I wouldn't expect to get Christmas off if I lived in China, nor would it be any kind of insult or malign discrimination on China's part if I didn't.

  • by flibbidyfloo (451053) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @05:12PM (#42852791)

    As soon as the night before is used as an excuse to get drunk by a large portion of the populace, who are then too hung over to go to work on the holiday, it will become an official American day off. New Year's day isn't a holiday because anyone is celebrating the start of a new year.

  • I believe that, in China, both new years are official state holidays.

  • If you are going to do it for Chinese. :P

    • You want all nationalities to celebrate Chinese New Year? Well....let's see. Big dinner of good food with family. Gift exchanges. Fireworks. Colorful dances. OK, this works for me. Oops! Gotta go buy some moon cakes. See Ya!

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:37PM (#42853987)
    What about Beltane, May 1st, Lamnas August 1st, Samhain October 31st? They are all traditional Celtic holidays. May day was the beginning of the planting season. Lammas was the wheat harvest and was celebrated with bread, Samhain was a combination of Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. It was called the season of death because it was also the time animals were slaughtered for winter meat so they didn't have to feed them all winter. Far more people in this country grew up with May Day and Halloween celebrations than Chinese New Year. We already celebrate a New Year so how many redundant new years do we need to have to keep everyone happy?
  • by rueger (210566) * on Sunday February 10, 2013 @08:38PM (#42854407) Homepage
    Will people argue strenuously against having more paid holidays. You folks really do love punishment don't you?

    (I'll take Newfoundland, [wikipedia.org] which includes St Patrick's Day as a holiday)

    (Here in BC the Liberal government, desperate to do anything that might rescue a few votes, has launched a February holiday called "Family Day." I guess that it goes without saying this comes after years of hacking away at any program that actually benefited real working class families.)

    (And of course, in Vancouver Chinese New Year is in fact a pretty big deal. Maybe we'll celebrate Family Day by going out for Dim Sum.)

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