Happy Lunar New Year!
by Assemblymember Phil Ting
Happy New Year!
Friday, Feb. 16 marks the Lunar New Year. As we usher in the Year of the Dog, I wish you
and your family good health and prosperity. Gung hay fat choy!
Today, more than 2.5 million Asian and Pacific Islander Californians observe
the Lunar New Year. I am one of those Californians; I grew up celebrating the
Lunar New Year with my family and I now celebrate it with my children. As the
proud vice-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, I am co-authoring
Senate Bill (SB) 892, which will permanently recognize the Lunar New Year in California.
California currently observes several days recognizing important people and issues.
We observe John Muir Day on April 21 to remember him and celebrate our state’s
stunning natural beauty that he helped protect and preserve. We recognize
California Poppy Day on April 6 to commemorate our state flower and stress
the importance of the protection of native plants. The second Wednesday in May is
the Day of the Teacher, and on May 22, we celebrate Harvey Milk Day on
As was done by the legislation creating Harvey Milk Day, championed by former State
Sen. Mark Leno, SB-892 would designate Lunar New Year’s Day as having special
significance to the state of California, and would encourage schools to conduct culturally
appropriate activities in observance of the occasion. It also directs the governor to
annually proclaim Lunar New Year’s Day in the state.
When it comes to Lunar New Year celebrations, we have a plethora of choices in the
Bay Area. Asian people constitute nearly a quarter of Bay Area residents, and our
region’s cities organize an impressive list of celebrations that extend for more
than a month.
San Francisco’s Chinese New Year’s celebration is the largest celebration of its
kind outside of China. It originated in the 1860s as a way for Chinese immigrants,
who came to America to work in gold mines and on the transcontinental railroad,
to share their culture. I encourage you to watch our city’s massive Chinese New Year’s
parade in Chinatown and Union Square, starting at 5 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 24. Keep an
eye out for me in my convertible.
I also invite you to celebrate the New Year with me, Board of Equalization
Member Fiona Ma, State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember David Chiu
on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 2- 4 p.m., at our office building located at
455 Golden Gate Ave.
With millions of Californians celebrating the Lunar New Year and many others
participating in the festivities, it’s time for the state to recognize a tradition dating
back more than 3,000 years in China and several other Asian countries. The more
we learn about each other’s traditions, the more tolerant and harmonious we will
become as a society.
In San Francisco, schools already celebrate the Lunar New Year as a cultural and
educational opportunity for our children. All of California’s children should benefit from
learning about the celebration.
Phil Ting represents the 19th District, which includes the west side of San Francisco.