Dr. Richard Pan and Senator Scott Wiener Announce Bill to Officially Recognize Lunar New Year in California

January 19, 2018

San Francisco –  Today Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) along with co-authors Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and supporters announced the introduction of a Senate Bill 892, which will officially recognize Lunar New Year in the state of California. The announcement came at a press conference hosted by the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood.

SB 892 designates Lunar New Year as a day of special significance in California and requires the Governor to honor Lunar New Year annually. Also under SB 892, all public schools and educational institutions will be encouraged to conduct exercises recognizing the traditions and cultural significance of the Lunar New Year, the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Californians to the state, and any local festivities and celebrations of the occasion. 

In addition, to Dr. Pan, Senator Wiener, and Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu, SB 892 is co-authored by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), and Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks).

“California’s rich heritage is celebrated by recognizing the cultural events of our diverse population,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “As the child of Asian immigrants, I am excited to celebrate my culture through the Lunar Year with the people of California.”

“Lunar New Year is an incredibly important day for so many communities in California,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “In San Francisco, our Asian and Pacific Islander cultures are the center of a world class Lunar New Year celebration that draws people from all over the state and country. Of course, we celebrate these rich cultures year round. I’m proud to work toward requiring the State of California to officially recognize the significance of Lunar New Year and the valuable cultural contribution this day plays in our city and our state’s cultural fabric.”  

“Lunar New Year is celebrated by millions of people in communities across California,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting.  “In my home of San Francisco, the celebration is among the oldest in the state and the largest outside of China.  It’s time to honor this tradition and its contribution to California, just like other important holidays, by officially recognizing it as a day of special significance.”

“Lunar New Year is fast approaching and Asian-American families will be welcoming the Year of the Dog​," said Assemblymember David Chiu. "It simply makes sense for California to formally recognize Lunar New Year and I thank Senators Pan and Wiener for their leadership.”

Lunar New Year falls generally on the second new moon following the winter solstice, which this year is February 16.  Lunar New Year is celebrated by millions of Asian and Pacific Islander Californians at community events that illustrate the state’s rich cultural history and commitment to racial, religious, and cultural diversity. Many jurisdictions in California, including the City and County of San Francisco, have already designated Lunar New Year as an official school holiday. The State Board of Education recognized Lunar New Year as a festival of special relevance in its third grade curriculum in 2016. 

“As an arts and culture non-profit in San Francisco Chinatown, the Chinese Culture Center serves a diverse immigrant and low-income population,” said Wai-ling Eng, Vice Chair, Board of Directors on the Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco. “This kind of statewide recognition of the Lunar New Year makes a bold statement on California’s stance as a state of inclusion and diversity. California leads the nation in this visionary effort and we enthusiastically support the bill.”