New York will become the largest U.S. school district to close for the Lunar New Year holiday, which is observed by Asians of several nations, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The mayor’s decision to close schools on the holiday, which next occurs Feb. 8, 2016, was disclosed on de Blasio’s Twitter account, which described it as an effort to create “a more inclusive city.’”
About 16 percent of the city’s 1.1 million public school students are Asian, according to the city Department of Education. Advocacy groups for several years have pushed school officials to observe the day, also called the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival.
The effort picked up steam with a rally at City Hall in March after de Blasio, who promised to make the Lunar New Year a school holiday, recognized the holy days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha in a school system where about 12 percent of the students are Muslim.
“It is critical that you also keep your pledge to designate Lunar New Year as a school holiday,” U.S. Representative Grace Meng, a Democrat, wrote in a March 9 letter to de Blasio that was signed by the entire New York City congressional delegation.