Quincy

Quincy School Committee to Mull No Classes on Lunar New Year

An online petition supporting the idea has garnered more than a thousand signatures

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A push is underway in Quincy, Massachusetts, to add the Lunar New Year to the city's school calendar.

Students and families in the city, which is known for having a vibrant Asian American community, want to celebrate the cultural holiday without missing class.

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On Wednesday night, the school committee plans to vote on approving next year's school calendar — and it may or may not include the Lunar New Year as an observed holiday.

The Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations in Asian culture, so naturally this is a big deal for many families in Quincy. Nearly half of the student body is of Asian descent.

Celebrity chef Ming Tsai shares tasty ways we can celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Petitions to add the holiday have gone on for a handful of years now, and the latest one has gathered more than a thousand signatures online.

There's already an excused absence built into the school calendar, but those students who want a perfect attendance want to have the Lunar New Year as an observed holiday. Other cities, like Brookline, already recognize the Lunar New Year as a school holiday because of the low school attendance on that day.

The Lunar New Year is a time for families to get together and feast. It goes off the lunar calendar and often falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar, which is followed by the West.

Lunar New Year is said to usher in hope and prosperity, and food is part of any celebration. Anna talks to Chef Richard Chen of Red 8 at Encore Boston Harbor about why fish is symbolic for the important holiday.

“The message from the school committee that we’re in touch with our community and respect its culture enough to celebrate with them is very important, especially when the majority of your students are of Asian descent," Quincy School Committee Vice Chair Frank Santoro said.

It's unclear if there is any notable opposition to the proposal. If the holiday is approved, the school district would likely need to make up that day at the end of the school year.

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