NEW YORK (PIX11) — Lunar New Year is now a holiday for all public schools in New York after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation into law on Saturday.

In New York City, public schools have observed the first day of the Lunar New Year as a holiday since 2015. This academic year, the first day of the Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 10, 2024, which is a Saturday. 

Under state law, schools are not required to observe a public holiday that falls on a Saturday during the prior or following week. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, schools must observe the holiday on the following Monday, according to the NYC Department of Education.

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is celebrated by millions of Asians worldwide and draws thousands to New York City’s Chinatown each year. New York is home to the second-largest population of Asian people in the country.

The holiday, which marks the first new moon of the lunar calendar, typically falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

Several New York lawmakers pushed for the state to recognize Lunar New Year as a public 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. “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.”

Charline Charles is a digital journalist from Brooklyn who has covered local news along with culture and arts in the New York City area since 2019. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.