Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month draws attention to rich and colorful cultures. Learn three easy ways to observe the month.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024 – May 2024

The U.S. celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May. John F. Kennedy once said: “Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal.” The American ideal is to recognize the rich cultural diversity of our nation and honor the contributions of all immigrants. Through traditional and social media, in theaters, museums, and parks, various events are organized to draw attention to Asian American and Pacific Islander culture. And to respect different immigrants let us support them in finding their path by helping them reach right resources of scholarships for Asian Americans and scholarships for Pacific Islanders that are for different ethnic groups around the U.S. and the globe.

History of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The rich history and heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is thousands of years old and is integral to the shaping of the history of the United States. Formerly known as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the celebration was officially renamed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2009. The month-long observance recognizes the influence and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the achievements and culture of the United States. The first documented arrival of Asians in America was in 1587 when Filipinos arrived in California. Additionally, evidence suggests that the first Japanese individual to arrive in North America was a young boy in October 1587. It’s believed he accompanied a Franciscan friar.The first Chinese arrived in Hawaii in 1778. The first Koreans landed in the States in 1884. The first Samoans in the United States were documented in 1920 in Hawaii and the first Vietnamese in 1912. In the 1970s, a former congressional staffer, Jeanie Jew, proposed the idea of celebrating Asian Pacific Americans to Representative Frank Horton. In June 1977, a United States House of Representatives resolution was introduced by Horton and Norman Y. Mineta, proclaiming the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. A month later, a similar bill was introduced in the Senate. President Jimmy Carter made the then-week-long celebration official when he signed a joint resolution on October 5, 1978. In 1990, Asian-Pacific Heritage Week was extended to a month when George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress, designating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month timeline

1882
Chinese Exclusion Act

As a result of growing anti-Chinese sentiment, this act bans Chinese citizens from entering the U.S. for 10 years.

1992
It Becomes a Month-Long Celebration

We have President George H.W. Bush to thank for making this month official.

2012
Asians are the Largest Immigrant Community

Asians surpass Hispanics as the largest immigrant community — they are also the fastest-growing one.

2016
Numbers Keep Growing

According to a survey, 1.5 million Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders live in the U.S.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month FAQs

Who celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month?

Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is primarily celebrated in the United States to recognize and commend the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the heritage and history of the United States. 

Who are Pacific Islanders?

Pacific Islanders are people whose origins are from the original peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. 

Is there a Native American Month?

On October 31, 2019, President Trump proclaimed November 2019 as National Native American Heritage Month. 

How to Observe Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

  1. Cook a traditional recipe

    Embark on a cultural culinary journey in your kitchen! Begin with fresh ingredients and serve up some Asian or Hawaiian dishes.

  2. Join the social media celebrations

    You don’t have to be an Asian American or Pacific Islander to join the fun on social media. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who is one. Tag them in posts relevant to the day.

  3. Travel back to your roots

    Connect with relatives and trace your genealogy. Don’t forget to record your experiences in a memoir and make your family tree. It's something the next generation can treasure!

5 Facts About Asian Americans And Pacific Islanders

  1. The Chinese arrived first

    Chinese immigrants came in the mid-19th century to work on the railroads and gold mines.

  2. Aloha is not a simple "Hello

    The Spirit of Aloha is a law that all Hawaiians, including tourists, must follow and respect by emoting good feelings for others.

  3. New 'home' states

    More than half of all Pacific Islanders live in two states — Hawaii and California.

  4. The Largest Asian American Population

    Hawaii has the largest Asian American population — nearly 800,000.

  5. Religion matters

    36% of Asian Americans say religion is very important in their lives.

Why Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is Important

  1. It honors immigrants

    Asian American immigrants and Pacific Islanders contribute greatly to the U.S. economy. This is a time to recognize how they have strengthened our communities.

  2. We learn about diversity

    Events and activities give us a glimpse of Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ rich cultures.

  3. It emphasizes racial equality

    Celebrations like these keep the healthy dialogue between different races alive.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month dates

Year Date Day
2023 May 1 Monday
2024 May 1 Wednesday
2025 May 1 Thursday
2026 May 1 Friday
2027 May 1 Saturday
National Chocolate Parfait Day
Silver Star Service Banner Day
National Loyalty Day
May Day
National Mother Goose Day
School Principals' Day
National Skilled Trades Day
National Infertility Survival Day
New Home Owners Day
Global Love Day
Save The Rhino Day
International Doodle Dog Day
Executive Coaching Day
Beltane
Worthy Wage Day
Frequent Flyer Day
National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day
National Purebred Dog Day
Couple Appreciation Day
Marshall Islands Constitution Day
National Rotate Your Beer Day
Project Aces Day
National Black Barber Shop Appreciation Day
National Mantra Day
National Blessing Day
Philippines Labor Day
Phone in Sick Day
Learn to Ride a Bike Day
National Interpreter Appreciation Day
Great American Grump Out
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 Day
Therapeutic Massage Awareness Day
Labour and Agriculture Day
International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening Day
Lei Day
CSS Reboot Day
Calan Mai
Gianna Bryant's Birthday
Charli D'Amelio's Birthday
Katya Petrovna Zamolodchikova's Birthday
Paeka's Birthday
Hurricane Preparedness Week
National Physical Education and Sport Week
National Teen Self Esteem Month
Arthritis Awareness Month
Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Food Allergy Action Month
Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month
National Barbecue Month
National Blood Pressure Month
National Egg Month
National Hamburger Month
National Lyme Disease Awareness Month
National Salad Month
Brain Cancer Awareness Month
Gifts From The Garden Month
International Civility Awareness Month
Date Your Mate Month
Creative Beginnings Month
National Strawberry Month
Get Caught Reading Month
National Inventors Month
National Mediterranean Diet Month
National Salsa Month
ALS Awareness Month
Better Speech and Hearing Month
Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month
Correct Posture Month
Global Employee Health and Fitness Month
Healthy Vision Month
Hepatitis Awareness Month
Lupus Awareness Month
National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
National Foster Care Month
National Pet Month
Mental Health Awareness Month
Tuberous Sclerosis Awareness Month
Responsible Animal Guardian Month
National Physiotherapy Month
Haitian Heritage Month
International Internal Audit Awareness Month
Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
American Wetlands Month
EDS Awareness Month
Huntington's Disease Awareness Month
Gardening for Wildlife Month
Maternal Mental Health Month
Women's Health Care Month
National Stroke Awareness Month
National Asparagus Month
National Vinegar Month
MCS Awareness Month
National Meditation Month
Local and Community History Month
Speech and Hearing Awareness Month
National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
National Youth Traffic Safety Month
Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Month
Labor History Month
National Recommitment Month
National Walking Month
Latino Books Month
International Victorious Woman Month
Indian Heritage Month
Military Appreciation Month
Building Safety Month
National Heritage Month
Revise Your Work Schedule Month
Syringomyelia Awareness Month
National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month
Fungal Infection Awareness Month
Neurofibromatosis Month
National Preservation Month
Bealtaine Festival
Make May Purple /Action On Stroke Month
International Business Image Improvement Month
Lettuce Month
Heal the Children Month
National Share a Story Month
Pet Sitter Safety Month
Homeschool Awareness Month
Zombie Awareness Month
Clean Air Month
National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month
Personal History Awareness Month
Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month
Ultraviolet Awareness Month
International Drum Month
Deck Safety Month
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Family Wellness Month
Tennis Month
May Measurement Month
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
National Sight Saving Month
Electromagnetic Radiation Awareness Month
National Show Your Smile Month
National Smile Month
Small Business Month
Lung Health Awareness Month
Chip Your Pet Month
National Duckling Month
Teen CEO Month
Be Kind to Animals Month
Leaders of Tomorrow Month
National Digestive Diseases Awareness Month
Prepare Tomorrow's Parents Month
Older Americans Month
Awareness of Medical Orphans Month
National Tuberous Sclerosis Awareness Month
National San Architect Month
National Prom Graduation Safety Month
REACT Month
Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month
National Service Dog Eye Examination Month
National Toxic Encephalopathy and Chemical Injury Awareness Month
Steelmark Month
National Community Action Month
Tourette's Syndrome Awareness Month
National Chocolate Custard Month
Strike Out Strokes Month
International Respect for Chickens Month
National Anxiety Month
American Cheese Month
National Photo Month
National Moving Month
Better Sleep Month
National Comfort Month
National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
National Bicycle Safety Month