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FDLP Resource Guides
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Then and Now Experiences of Asians and Asian Americans


Collage of individuals

(Image sources clockwise from left: NAID: 6427066, NAID: 6662036, and NAID: 295812078)

Learn about past and present heritages and civil rights experiences of Asian Americans. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an individual's response is based upon self-identification of their race and ethnicity, and may identify with more than one. This guide follows the bureau's current definition:

  • "Asian – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

According to the 2020 Census Data, "Asian Indian (4.4 million) was the largest detailed alone group. Chinese, except Taiwanese (5.2 million) was the largest detailed alone or in any combination group." Below is a screenshot of the data table providing more details:

Table 4. Five Largest Detailed Asian Alone and Alone or In Any Combination Groups: 2020

Recognizing and Celebrating Asian and Asian American Heritage

Below is information about some of the annual celebrations and holidays.

Date Event
Second New Moon after the Winter Solstice

Lunar New Year

  • This is a "major holiday in Asian societies that use variants of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. The holiday has cultural significance for Asian American communities with ties to those countries."
Ninth Month of the Muslim Lunar Calendar


  • "Ramadan is a sacred period of prayer and reflection, celebrating with family and community, and remembering and serving those less fortunate with compassion and openness."
Month of May

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Month (AANHPI)

  • AANHPI Heritage Month marks two historic dates: "the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, as well as the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869."
Full Moon in May

Vesak Day

  • This holiday "marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha." 
14th to 16th Days of the Eighth Lunar Month (September or October)


  • This Korean "festival is a time for families to gather and give thanks to their ancestors."
Five days between Asvina and Kartika (mid-October and mid-November)


  • Known as the Festival of Lights that rings in the new Hindu calendar year, "celebrants honor the goddess Lakshmi, who is associated with agriculture and abundance."