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Thread: 2022 Year of the Tiger

  1. #16
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    Lion Dance at Tiger Claw

    I just posted 13 pix of a Lion Dance that happened at Tiger Claw HQ last Saturday on the Tiger Claw FB page.

    Yau Kung Moon SF under Sifu Richard Ow


    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    On KQED

    'Hope for Community': Storied Chinatown Kung Fu School Gears Up for First Lunar New Year Parade Since Pandemic Began
    Spencer Whitney
    Feb 18


    The Yau Kung Moon School's Matthew Wong walks back to the studio with students after their performance at the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 30, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    On a recent sunny Saturday morning, children and parents filed into the Yau Kung Moon School in San Francisco’s Chinatown to practice their martial arts techniques, train with traditional weapons and practice lion dancing ahead of their performance in this weekend's Chinese New Year Parade on Feb. 19.

    The Yau Kung Moon School — named for the southern Shaolin kung fu style it teaches — has a practice room in a building on Waverly Place just off Clay Street filled with trophies, honors and banners. Spears, staffs and swords are placed neatly in the corner behind the yellow-and-red-colored dragon costumes the school is known for. Performers wear yellow shirts, yellow pants, a red sash and traditional, striped red-and-gold leggings.

    Led by Richard Ow (referred to as "sifu," meaning teacher), students learn the fundamentals of the Yau Kung Moon style, and the Nam Si Buk Mo lion dance style. Ow currently teaches 50 students and has trained 300 students since he became a sifu in 2000.

    'The Lunar New Year parade is about bringing out positivity and hope for community. We bring in members that have been with us for 22 years, and it’s like a family gathering again.'
    Sifu Richard Ow, Yau Kung Moon School
    “Sifu has a more in-depth meaning than ‘teacher,’” said Ow. “So first it's like a coach. There's a Chinese saying: ‘The student will watch the teacher and the teacher will watch the student.’ You’ll see in three to six years if the student is dedicated or worth your time. In the old-school way of thinking, the sifu doesn’t waste time. They let their younger instructors teach.”

    The school has been in San Francisco for more than 50 years, and has participated in 36 Lunar New Year parades. Students' ages range from 4 to 40 years old. The youngest students and beginners will march in the New Year parade, while students who have practiced kung fu will perform short sets for the crowd. Intermediate and advanced students will perform the lion dancing and help the younger students.


    Richard Ow teaches a beginners martial arts class at Yau Kung Moon, a southern Shaolin kung fu studio, in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 29, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    Ow was born and raised in San Francisco in a traditional Chinese household.

    “My dad had a bakery on Washington Street in Chinatown and would work for over 12 hours regularly," he said. "My sisters and I also helped with the business.”

    Ow remembers vendors putting posters of martial arts movies on the window of the bakery and handing his father free movie tickets. His father would take him to see the films, and Ow grew up idolizing martial artists like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

    “Growing up, I was a skinny, weak kid so the films were a big inspiration,” said Ow.

    When Ow was 11 years old, his father’s friend recommended taking him to visit the Yau Kung Moon School. Ow instantly fell in love with the school and became a devoted student who prided himself on being the first one to practice and the last one to leave.

    He studied under Sifu Lok Sang Lee beginning in 1987, worked hard, and within two years had entered his first national kung fu competition in San Francisco. He won first place using Yau Kung Moon’s broadsword form for short weapons and the "Ying Ching" hand form. By the time he was 15, he was helping to instruct other students.


    Rebecca Lee, 23, a senior instructor, helps Pandora, 9, during an intermediate martial arts class at Yau Kung Moon School in Chinatown on Jan. 29, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    'Bringing out positivity and hope for community'

    The last Lunar New Year parade took place two years ago, just before the pandemic shut down many activities that would normally be happening throughout the month. This year, excitement has been building as the parade — the biggest Lunar New Year parade outside Asia — prepares to roar back in the Year of the Tiger.

    Folk dancers, marching bands, stilt walkers and Chinese acrobats will join martial arts schools such as Yau Kung Moon, the Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy and Leung's White Crane school, which performs at the parade's finale.

    “The Lunar New Year parade is about bringing out positivity and hope for community,” said Ow. “For the performance, we bring in members that have been with us for 22 years, and it’s like a family gathering again. People still come out rain or shine. We represent our community positively in Chinatown.”

    Vincent Lau, a resident of South San Francisco, brought his two children to practice at Yau Kung Moon School on Saturday morning. His children are 8 and 10 years old.

    “They saw their cousin performing and decided they wanted to give it a try,” said Lau. “They’ve been participating since last year in May.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    Continued from previous post


    Young Yau Kung Moon students prepare to take the stage to perform at the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 30, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    Lau has been going to see the Lunar New Year parade for years and would watch it on TV when he got older. He watches his children practice with Ow and commends him for his dedication.

    “I can tell Sifu [Ow] really likes teaching and working with the community,” said Lau.

    Lau said the decision to get his children involved with the Yau Kung Moon School was partly influenced by news of ongoing violent attacks and hate targeting Asian and Asian American people across the United States.

    Stop AAPI Hate — a project based out of San Francisco State University that, among other efforts, asks members of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the nation to self-report acts of hate and discrimination — found that there were more than 10,000 incidents of anti-Asian hate from March 2020 through September 2021. California ranked first out of 20 states with the largest percentage of hate incident reports at 37.8%.

    “My wife has that fear of bad things might happen, and this program is a way to help our kids protect themselves,” said Lau.

    Brandon Wong, a 25-year-old from Daly City, is one of Yau Kung Moon School’s senior instructors and has been training and performing since he was in middle school. He’s been working with Sifu Richard Ow for more than 14 years.

    “My mother knew one of the instructors and he would see me around town and egged me on to learn,” said Wong. “I decided to give it a try and fell in love with it. I started coming out every Saturday and Sunday to practice. It’s nice to exercise, but learning lion dancing and martial arts helped build my confidence. Learning and practicing with other people from the community was nice.”

    When Wong first started practicing, there weren’t as many kids involved, so all the participants (around 20 people) trained together, no matter their skill level. The program has since grown, and classes are now separated by skill level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Wong has participated in at least 12 parade performances, and he's also a part of the street fair performances held on Sundays in Chinatown. There's a stage set up where students are encouraged to perform their moves with a demonstration of fighting techniques using weapons, hand-to-hand combat and lion dancing.


    A Yau Kung Moon lion dance team talks before performing at the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 30, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    Wong remembers the adrenaline rush he felt the first time he performed in the parade.

    “The idea of being on TV as a kid was cool,” said Wong. “Overall, it was a really fun experience. After around three years of performing, my sisters got involved so it became a family thing. My older sister assists with the online classes.”

    When the pandemic shut down in-person practice, Ow and his instructors switched to teaching online through Zoom classes.

    “We still want to make sure everyone’s comfortable, so we still offer online classes," said Wong. "Online classes make teaching a little more difficult when there’s only one view from a webcam — and correcting stances, posture and techniques is important.”

    Wong helps out with performances and in-person practice. With a 1-year-old son at home, Wong says his involvement with the program has shifted slightly but he makes time when Ow needs assistance. He helps teach three days a week at every skill level.


    Brandon Wong, 25, a senior instructor at Yau Kung Moon, performs at the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 30, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    Ow implemented a new system of distinguishing different skill levels by introducing colored sashes to his students modeled after the colors used in the Chinese zodiac. There are 10 levels and colors; beginners wear gray sashes around their waists and work their way up to red sashes, which instructors wear.

    “In the old-school way, there wasn’t this type of structured system and there was no way for students to gauge how they were improving,” said Ow. “Now, it’s set up for a student to be able to learn the system and pass it on to future generations.”

    'It was captivating to see the costumes and how people were able to move the lion's head in such a way that it looked realistic.'
    Rebecca Lee, senior instructor, Yau Kung Moon School
    Yau Kung Moon was introduced to the public in China in 1924 by founding Grandmaster Ha Han Hong — but its rich history extends back to the Tang dynasty. Ha was taught by a Shaolin monk and began establishing schools at the monk's request. Prior to that, the style was primarily practiced in secret at southern Shaolin temples and villages, with monks selecting one worthy disciple to teach and pass along to the next generation. Much of the history of Yau Kung Moon was kept alive through word of mouth rather than written texts.

    Wong says while everyone comes into practice at different skill levels, it took him about a year of practice before he started performing. His first performance was lion dancing at the Chinatown weekend street fair. Being in sync and practicing with a partner takes time and at least a few years of practice, depending on the complexity of the performance, Wong said.

    Rebecca Lee started coming to the Yau Kung Moon school when she was 6 years old. She remembers being excited to see the lion dance performances and people practicing kung fu.

    “It was captivating to see the costumes and how people were able to move the lion’s head in such a way that it looked realistic,” said Lee.


    Rebecca Lee, 23, a senior instructor, helps students practice martial arts during a beginner class at Yau Kung Moon, a southern Shaolin kung fu studio, in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 29, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
    Lee's father brought her to the school one day, and after some convincing, she agreed to join and start learning. Lee is now 23 and has been a senior instructor since 2016. She primarily helps the younger children who need more assistance with their coordination and fundamentals. Lee said she’s glad to see more women getting involved in what’s been seen as a male-dominated activity.

    The Yau Kung Moon School has a great reputation among other martial arts schools as being strong competitors and among the community at large for their performances. Ow encourages people who aren’t familiar with the Lunar New Year holiday to participate in festivities and come see the parade.

    As for the school, he says the important thing to remember when practicing is to remain humble and open to learning. Ow is planning a Kung Fu Day event on March 19, where he will invite sifus from all over the Bay Area to perform and showcase their styles in an exhibition as a sign of solidarity.

    “I don’t consider myself a master,” said Ow. “Even though it’s been 35 years, I still have more to learn. I tell my instructors that as long as you are teaching someone, it doesn’t matter if it’s one person or 10 people. What’s important is keeping the culture, tradition and style alive.”
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  4. #19
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    Worldwide Tai Ji Men Qigong Academies Lunar New Year Celebrations


    Friday 25 February, 2022
    Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy
    Tai Ji Men Hosts 2022 Lunar New Year Gatherings, Bringing Good Luck and Blessings to the World

    “Conscience is the key to a successful life.” ~ Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, Zhang-men-ren (grandmaster) of Tai Ji Men

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Worldwide Tai Ji Men Qigong Academies held joyful "Lunar New Year Celebrations” online from February 13 to 20, 2022, featuring festive cultural performances, such as Celestial Officials Bestowing Blessings, rhythmic storytelling, martial arts presentations, and energetic dance to shower people with happy energy. At the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, Tai Ji Men dizi (disciples) shared with everyone an abundance of good fortune and five treasures–health, wealth, wisdom, happiness, and joy. For these jubilant events, Tai Ji Men received congratulatory messages from over 700 dignitaries, including those from heads of state, ambassadors of various countries, U.S. Congress members, California state senators, other elected officials in the United States, Taiwan’s Presidential Office, Ministry of Justice, legislators, heads of counties and cities, representatives from all walks of life, scholars, religious leaders, and leaders of cultural organizations and media outlets.

    Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze , Zhang-men-ren (grandmaster) of Tai Ji Men, stated, “Conscience is the key to a successful life. All of our actions must be guided by our conscience. We take steps to make our plans and wishes a reality, and we continue to work toward our objectives while reviewing and improving our plans and ourselves. The accumulation of good deeds will eventually allow us to progress in life in leaps and bounds, giving our lives immense and lasting value.”

    In celebration of the arrival of the Year of the Tiger, Tai Ji Men presented various exhilarating cultural performances to spread good energy and blessings, including a dance drama based on an ancient legend of "The Carp Leaping Dragon Gate," which has a profound meaning and is meant to encourage people to persevere and insist on doing what is right on their life journeys. With conscience, wisdom, and fortitude, as the drama depicts, people will achieve their goals and attain happiness despite the obstacles and challenges along the way.

    The celebration also included a reenactment of Judge Bao Qingtian's story. A group of Tai Ji Men dizi dressed as Judge Bao and his gallant assistants combined qigong, martial arts, and theater in a powerful performance that inspired the viewers to usher in a brighter future for themselves and the world by following in the footsteps of these ancient sages and knights-errant who acted with conscience, protected justice, and combated corruption.

    “Run forward! Run forward! We have a bright future ahead of us!" The exhilarating "Celestial Horse Dance" was performed by a group of Tai Ji Men youth, who wished that everyone would fearlessly do good deeds in the Year of the Tiger! To foster cultural diversity and mutual respect, beautiful songs in different languages representing various nations and ethnic groups, such as English, Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese, Hakka, and Taiwanese aboriginal languages, were presented.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, and the counterbalance acts of nature have caused natural disasters all over the world. During the events, an animated film "Tigers’ Wish” produced by Tai Ji Men was presented. In the Year of the Tiger, this thought-provoking film highlights important issues, such as respect, war, and environmental protection, encompassing the wisdom of living in harmony with nature and hoping to awaken the conscience of global citizens and inspire them to treat themselves and others with kindness.

    Over the years, Tai Ji Men has self-funded trips to 101 nations to promote love, peace, and conscience. Through cultural exchanges, it has brought people closer together, uniting the hearts of global citizens of diverse nations and ethnic origins, and earning accolades from leaders in all circles.

    California State Senator Connie Leyva sent her congratulatory message to Tai Ji Men: “I would like to thank you for your important work to spread kindness and joy in homes and communities across our region. The last two years have been very difficult for many people and families. So it is important that we all continue to come together in unity and friendship.”

    California State Senator Josh Newman also sent a video message to Tai Ji Men: “May your coming new year be filled with good fortune, health, and prosperity as we not only celebrate another year of life, but the wonderful contributions of your community to our district, to our state, and to our country.”

    Santa Clara City Mayor Lisa Gillmor said, “I want to thank Tai Ji Men for its encouragement of physical and spiritual health in our community and beyond. During these uncertain times, we owe our gratitude to organizations like yours for providing nourishment, not only for the body, but also the mind and soul. We cannot thank you enough for the tremendous service you provide to the well-being of our community.”

    Walnut City Mayor Eric Ching stated that he is very grateful for Tai Ji Men's hard work and long-term contribution to the community, and that Tai Ji Men has been promoting love, tolerance, and health.

    San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez stated, “The work that Tai Ji Men has done continues to focus on offering peaceful and mindful opportunities for our community that helps to cultivate unity and compassion, and garner goodwill in the community through human relationships and promotion of conscience. Events such as this one help to bring our community together and make our city a better place for all of us.”

    San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre stated, “Thank you to all of you at the Academy for your dedication to preserve and promote the essence of traditional Chinese culture. Let's all take this new year to spread positive energy, advocate for our mental health and wellness, and inspire each other to make a difference.”

    “Tai Ji Men has been doing so many good things for the community, promoting love and peace," said Dr. Tony Y. Torng, president of the Board for the Walnut Valley Unified School District, adding, “I'm here to congratulate you and it's an honor for me to join this event.”

    Several Tai Ji Men dizi (disciples) shared what they had learned at Tai Ji Men and how it had helped them cope with the stress of the pandemic. Brian Kung, who works in a hospital, said that practicing Tai Ji Men Qigong has helped him strengthen his body and calm his heart so that he is less fearful of COVID-19, and he encouraged everyone to listen to their conscience to overcome the pandemic. Chiwen Su, a visual artist, said, “Tai Ji Men Qigong has helped me stay calm and positive. The low impact exercises ensure better health and peace of mind.” She also volunteers her time to promote a culture of peace with love and conscience. “My Shifu taught me to help myself and help others and do the right thing,” she explained.

    In response to COVID-19 outbreak, Tai Ji Men has produced eye-catching, entertaining, and practical animations, such as "Anti-Pandemic Battle'' and “5 Do’s, 3 Don’ts and 6 Tips,” reminding everyone to take preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. These films have been widely shared in 241 countries and regions around the globe to help global citizens overcome the pandemic. Tai Ji Men hopes that people will follow their conscience, unite to protect the Earth and human rights, and create a sustainable world with love, respect, and peace.

    Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy : Tai Ji Men is an ancient menpai (similar to school) of qigong, martial arts, and self-cultivation. It has carried forward the wisdom of Daoist philosophy, one of the highest philosophies of humankind. It is an international nonprofit cultural organization. Its contemporary zhang-men-ren (grandmaster), Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze established the Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy in 1966, and since then it has grown to 15 academies worldwide.

    Dr. Hong teaches his dizi (similar to disciples) methods to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual balance, and tens of thousands of families have benefited from his teaching. At Tai Ji Men, martial arts and wisdom have been passed down from the shifu (master) to his dizi. Through this time-honored tradition, the shifu and dizi promote the Tai Ji Men culture and martial arts around the world while embodying what is true, good, and beautiful as well as spreading the ideas of conscience, love, and peace. Over the past half-century, the shifu and dizi have self-funded trips to over 300 cities in 101 nations to conduct more than 3,000 cultural performances and exchanges and have been recognized as “International Ambassadors of Peace and Goodwill,” contributing significantly to making the world a more loving and peaceful place!
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  5. #20
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    Mooncakes have skins?

    These Vegan Mooncake Biscuits Are a Rare Lunar Year Treat
    Luke Tsai
    Jan 13
    .
    Originally conceived as a way to use up leftover mooncake dough, mooncake biscuits are a rarity in the Bay Area. (Annie's T Cakes)
    It started out as a way to reduce food waste. “I was looking into what to do with leftover mooncake skins,” explains Annie Wang, who runs the vegan home bakery Annie T’s Cakes out of her Uptown Oakland apartment.

    The answer, Wang discovered, was mooncake biscuits. According to Chinese custom, bakers would put a small portion of mooncake dough in the oven to test its temperature. Eventually, they started forming these test batches into the shape of little pigs and selling them as a standalone item—an inexpensive alternative to the mooncakes proper, minus their luxurious lotus seed and salted egg yolk fillings. Kids, in particular, love the biscuits, which Wang describes as being akin to a flaky, not-too-sweet cookie.

    In Hong Kong, Malaysia and elsewhere in the Chinese diaspora, mooncake biscuits are a common sighting during the Mid-Autumn Festival (which typically falls in September or October). But this year Wang decided to feature them in her Lunar New Year snack box—just released for preorder—in part because the biscuits are such a rarity in the Bay Area.

    The Lunar New Year boxes ($30), which also include almond cookies and the more typical filled varieties of mooncake, will be available for pickup in Oakland from Jan. 27–Feb. 1.

    All of the baked treats are 100 percent vegan, in keeping with the bakery’s overall mission to veganize traditional East Asian sweets. Armed with a cottage food license and an arsenal of plant-based egg and dairy substitutes, Wang says she hopes efforts like hers will help create a better, more sustainable food system.


    The Lunar New Year's treat box also features almond cookies and regular mooncakes. (Annie's T Cakes)
    As it did for so many other Americans, the pandemic brought Wang face to face with the hard realization that “a full-time job is not necessarily as stable as we thought.” When she was laid off from her marketing job in May of 2020, she dove headfirst into her passion for food tech and vegan baking, spending the better part of the year on recipe development.

    Her first breakthrough wound up becoming the item that Annie’s is best known for: a plant-based version of Taiwanese pineapple cakes, or fengli su, probably Taiwan’s most iconic snack cake. Wang, who is Chinese American, grew up eating the cakes, and she says it only took her three tries to come up with an eggless recipe that hit all the right notes, with a buttery (but butter-free) shortbread crust and jammy pineapple filling. Conveniently, the cakes are also gluten-free.

    Meanwhile, for Lunar New Year, Wang is excited to introduce her vegan mooncake biscuits to customers who aren’t familiar with them. “They’re really satisfying to eat, and you can eat a lot of them,” she says. “It’s not a heavy snack.” In Hong Kong or Singapore, the little pig-shaped biscuits are typically sold in baskets that are meant to look like cages—which, Wang says, “as a vegan is less fun for me to think about.” So, Wang’s version isn’t modeled after a pig at all. Instead, she stuck with a more traditional-looking engraved mooncake design, though she’s playing around with other shapes for the future.

    The bakery is also selling kits for preparing tang yuan soup, a rice flour–based dessert that’s also commonly eaten during Lunar New Year.

    Growing up, Wang remembers that Lunar New Year was all about family time: making dumplings, playing mahjong, watching Chinese comedy skits on TV that she couldn’t understand. Wang's Lunar New Year box is well suited for that kind of small, intimate gathering—the kind most people will be having to ring in the Year of the Tiger this coming month.

    “It’s not a great time for the world,” Wang says. “But one of the small side benefits of the pandemic is a lot of people really got closer to their smaller circle.”



    The Annie’s T Cakes Lunar New Year Box ($30) is available for preorder through Jan. 18, with pickup at Little Giant Ice Cream (1951 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) Jan. 27–Feb. 1. Shipping is also available in California only.
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  6. #21
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    Our latest sweepstakes. Enter to Win!

    Enter to win 2022 Year of the Tiger T-shirt!
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  7. #22
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    Our winners are announced

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  8. #23
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    2022 Year of the Tiger

    Lunar New Year is now a state holiday in California
    Ryan General
    16 mins ago



    California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2596 on Friday, officially making Lunar New Year a state holiday.

    The new state law, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), authorizes any state employee to receive eight hours of holiday credit rather than personal holiday credit and utilize eight hours of vacation, annual leave or compensating time off to observe the Lunar New Year.

    The Lunar New Year, which usually takes place at the end of January or beginning of February, is predominantly celebrated by Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian communities.

    “Recognizing this day as a state holiday acknowledges the diversity and cultural significance Asian Americans bring to California and provides an opportunity for all Californians to participate in the significance of the Lunar New Year,” Newsom said.

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill officially recognizing Lunar New Year as a state holiday.

    Assembly Bill (AB) 2596, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), was among the number of bills Newsom passed before the Friday midnight deadline.

    The new state law authorizes any state employee to receive eight hours of holiday credit rather than personal holiday credit and utilize eight hours of vacation, annual leave or compensating time off to observe the Lunar New Year.

    With the addition of the Lunar New Year, California now has three new state holidays, including Juneteenth and Genocide Remembrance Day.

    “The Lunar New Year celebrates a chance to leave behind the troubles of the past year and invite prosperity and good luck moving forward,” Newsom wrote in his signing message. “Recognizing this day as a state holiday acknowledges the diversity and cultural significance Asian Americans bring to California and provides an opportunity for all Californians to participate in the significance of the Lunar New Year.”

    According to Newsom, he is “immensely proud of the richness of diversity and backgrounds represented in our state and understand the importance of wanting to see one’s own experience reflected in state holidays.”

    The Lunar New Year, which usually takes place at the end of January or the beginning of February, is predominantly celebrated by Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian communities. Based on the lunar calendar, the special event marks the arrival of spring.

    Earlier this year, Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced a new bill that would recognize Lunar New Year as a federal holiday in the U.S.



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  9. #24
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    Our latest sweepstakes. Enter to Win!

    Enter to win a Tiger Claw ‘Year of the Tiger’ Hoody
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