House Passes Bill Recognizing Lunar New Year

OLYMPIA – In a meaningful step toward celebrating multiculturalism and the vibrant Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, the House of Representatives voted to pass House Bill 2209 today. The legislation, introduced by Representative My-Linh Thai (D-Bellevue) would establish Lunar New Year as a legislatively recognized holiday.

Rep. Thai who immigrated to Washington as a Vietnamese refugee with her family shared that “the legislation represents an important milestone for inclusivity and understanding.”

Lunar New Year, observed by an estimated two billion people across the globe, signifies the dawn of a new year on the lunisolar calendar. It’s a time for families and communities to come together, share festive traditions, delicious meals, and heartfelt wishes for prosperity and good fortune.

This year, Washington’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities will welcome the Year of the Dragon, a symbolic creature renowned for their power, nobility, and honor – bringing prosperity, luck, and success.

“This legislation is a powerful testament to the fortitude and invaluable contributions of the Asian American community,” shared Representative Thai. “We acknowledge our remarkable legacy, built despite facing hardships, discrimination, and violence.”

“By recognizing Lunar New Year, we celebrate vibrant and enduring cultures, and commit to building a more inclusive and equitable Washington for all.”

This legislation builds on a 2023 resolution, HR 4604, and others introduced and passed since 2019 celebrating the Lunar New Year. As a holiday, Lunar New Year not only honors cultural traditions but also underscores the strength and solidarity of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

“As we step into the Year of the Dragon, let us embrace new beginnings and shared understanding” added Rep. Thai. “Let this holiday be a reminder of the richness that diversity brings to our state and a catalyst for fostering genuine connection and inclusivity.”

It now heads to the Senate for further consideration. Learn more about HB 2209 in this video.