US denies petition for Lunar New Year
Growing Asian population says students should get the day off
China's 1.3 billion people celebrated the two-week Lunar New Year holiday this month, and now 39,780 people want it to be a national holiday in the United States.
"The Asian population represents a large percentage of the US population and is growing ever more," the petition sent to the White House with close to 40,000 signatures said. "Please make this important holiday widely recognized and make it an official day off for students too."
The petitioners got a response from the White House office that handles such petitions -the Office of Digital Strategy - but they are not going to get a holiday.
"Even though it would take an act of Congress to make Lunar New Year a federal holiday, we're happy to speak out to ensure that this important celebration is widely recognized and treated with respect," read the response.
The office compared Lunar New Year to Rosh Hashanah, Easter or Eid al-Adha, the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice.
"It's an occasion that makes us richer as a culture and stronger as a people - even without being a federal holiday," the office said.
The White House established the "We the People" online petitioning system on Sept 22, 2011, and since then has received almost 9.2 million signatures on more than 141,000 petitions, according to the office.
Dragon dancers cross Canal Street during the 14th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade on Feb 17 in New York City. [Photo/Agencies]