February 8, 2013

Most Vietnamese Americans Celebrate the Lunar New Year

93%

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by more than nine-in-ten Vietnamese Americans. Overall, 68% of those in the largest Asian American groups say they celebrate the holiday.

Many Asian countries – including China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam – use a lunar calendar in addition to the solar calendar commonly used in the United States. People in those countries – as well as here in the United States – will start celebrating the Lunar New Year this weekend.

Overall, about two-thirds of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese Americans (68%) celebrate the Lunar New Year, or what is often referred to as the Chinese New Year. Commemoration of the Lunar New Year is highest among Vietnamese Americans (93%) and Chinese Americans (82%) – who are about as likely to celebrate the Lunar New Year as to celebrate Thanksgiving. Fewer Korean Americans (45%) and Japanese Americans (30%) say they celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Among religious groups from these four countries of origin, roughly eight-in-ten Buddhists (81%) and Catholics (77%) say they celebrate the Lunar New Year. About half of the Protestants in these country-of-origin groups – including 49% of evangelicals – also celebrate the start of the lunar year.

Asian immigrants, especially those who have come to the U.S. since 2000, are more likely than native-born Asians from these countries of origin to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Among Japanese Americans, however, this pattern is reversed; 39% of U.S.-born Japanese Americans say they celebrate the Lunar New Year, compared with 18% of foreign-born Japanese Americans. Read more