Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is an international holiday celebrated in many Asian countries, but not all, and the United States even has its own celebrations. 

Unlike western New Year's, the date of Lunar New Year changes depending on the year. But regardless of the date, each culture that celebrates the Lunar New Year has lasting customs, traditions and beliefs. 

Globally, around two billion people celebrate the Lunar New Year. Here is what you need to know about the Lunar New Year in 2023: when it is, how long it is and what the Year of the Rabbit represents. 


Unlike western New Year, Lunar New Year lasts longer than one day. The amount of celebration days depends on the culture. Some observances are longer than others. The Lunar New Year is based on a different calendar than the Gregorian calendar, which many western countries, including the U.S., use. The calendar is based on the moon's 12 phases, based on the lunar calendar or lunisolar calendar. Each phase lasts about 29 days, and the full calendar is around 354 days long. 

In China, Lunar New Year lasts from the new moon to the next full moon. This is a fifteen day span until the fifth day of the lunar month.

In 2023, Lunar New Year begins on Sunday, January 22 and ends on Sunday, February 5. 

The upcoming Lunar New Year dates corresponding to the Gregorian calendar are:

  • Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023
  • Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2025
  • Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2026
  • Saturday, Feb. 6, 2027  


    Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout many Asian cultures. Among those are Chinese, South Korean, Vietnamese, Singaporean, Malaysian, Filipino and Indonesian culture. 

    Additionally, each has its own name for New Year. In South Korea, Lunar New Year is called Seollal. In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is called Tết, short for Tết Nguyên Đán. 

    The number of celebration days also varies depending on the country. In South Korea, Seollal usually lasts for three days, while in China, Lunar New Year spans 15 days. In Vietnam, Tết Nguyên Đán is a week long. 



    In the Chinese Zodiac, there are 12 animals; each with its own attributes and characteristics. These 12 animals coincide with the lunar calendar and fall in a 12-year cycle. 

    The order of the Chinese Zodiac is Rat, Ox (in China) or Buffalo (in Vietnam), Tiger, Rabbit (in China) or Cat (in Vietnam), Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

    2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. 

    Men born in the Rabbit year are extraordinarily polite and do whatever they can to avoid conflicts. They have control over themselves and are sometimes conservative. They may seem to be a yes-man, but they have a bottom line that they won’t cross.

    These men like organizing and decorating, and often help their wives with chores. But that doesn’t mean they actually like being responsible for the home. Though a great friend, they don’t like becoming too close to someone.

    Women born in the Rabbit year love being social. They are thoughtful and treat everyone politely. They are very conscious of their public image and hate violence and arguments.

    In love, they are very extreme. There’s a clear difference between who they love and who they don’t. And they rarely pass that line. But if they love someone, they’ll put everything into the relationship. But the deeper they go, the more hurt they can get. These Rabbits are more insecure than other zodiacs and need to be reassured often.


    Lunar New Year is not a federal public holiday. However, a new bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom is honoring an important cultural holiday in a new way. AB 2596 recognizes Lunar New Year as an official state holiday. The bill would authorize state employees, with specified exceptions, to elect to receive 8 hours of holiday credit for the “Lunar New Year” in lieu of receiving 8 hours of personal holiday credit, and to elect to use 8 hours of vacation, annual leave, or compensating time off, consistent with departmental operational needs and collective bargaining agreements, for “Lunar New Year,” as specified.

    “The Lunar New Year celebrates a chance to leave behind the troubles of the past year and invite prosperity and good luck moving forward. 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 Year.” Governor Gavin Newsom

    Legislation introduced to create Lunar New Year as a federal holiday

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, announced in Jaunary 31, 2022, introducing new legislation to create a federal holiday for Lunar New Year. Meng’s measure would make Lunar New Year a federally recognized holiday in the United States, adding it to the list of eleven federal holidays that are currently recognized. The bill was introduced with 44 cosponsors.

    A copy of Meng’s holiday bill, titled the “Lunar New Year Day Act,” can be viewed here. A copy of her resolution, called “Recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year in 2022,” which has 71 cosponsors, is available here

    Press release



    The UC Asian Pacific Islander Staff Association (APISA) created a toolkit on Lunar New Year, which is copied here.  Toolkit.

    Taking Time Off

    As of 2022, The new CA 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. APISA is currently seeking guidance from leadership on how to report hours. Until further guidance, staff must take personal vacation hours to take time off. You can help spread awareness about Lunar New Year by requesting time off and noting to your supervisor it is specifically to celebrate Lunar New Year.

    • Request time off ahead of a check-in with a supervisor. Here are some sample e-mail requests.
    • Consider sharing that you are celebrating in your Out of Office reply. Gather inspiration with these fellow staff member examples.

    Celebrating at Work

    On site or remote, you can share your celebration with co-workers by:

    Examples of Requests to Supervisor

    Subject: Time off Request for Year of the Rabbit Lunar New Year 

    Dear ____________,

    I am writing to request a day/week off to observe Lunar New Year. This year, the high holiday time falls on ________ [See calendar dates for upcoming Lunar New Year here], with Lunar New Year falling on ______.  

    Recognized as a state holiday, I would like to request eight hours of holiday credit rather than personal holiday credit and utilizing eight hours of vacation, annual leave or compensating tie off to observe Lunar New Year as recommended by state law.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Subject: Taking Time Off For Lunar New Year of the Cat

    Hello ___________,

    As recommended by the 2022 state law recognizing Lunar New Year as a state holiday, I am writing to request eight hours of holiday credit rather than personal holiday credit, vacation time, annual leave or compensating time off to celebrate Vietnamese Lunar New Year on ______. Given the significance of this holiday (it’s like Christmas, Thanksgiving and everyone’s birthday rolled into one) it is important for me to be with my family.

    Thank you for considering,

    Example of Out of Office Reply  

    Thank you for your email. I am out of the office from ______ to ______ in observation of California state holiday, Lunar New Year of the Cat.

    I will respond to you email upon return on __________.

    Chúc mừng năm mới OR 새해 복 많이 받으세요 OR 新年快乐 OR 恭喜发财 (Happy New Year),