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Chinese New Year: The Year Of The Dragon

The Chinese New Year celebrations are cascading across the city.  Las Vegas has several annual Chinese New Year celebrations; tour any of the large casinos in late January and early February, and one can expect to see a wealth of traditional symbols such as red lanterns, bamboo shoots, fruit-bearing trees and the animals from the zodiac.   This is the Year of the Dragon, representative of those born in the years 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988,  and 2000. The Dragon occupies the 5th position in the Chinese Zodiac and symbolizes such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and are usually successful.  They are driven, unafraid of challenges and willing to take risks.  They’re passionate in all they do, and they do things in grand fashion.  They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Rat and Monkey.

Chinese New Year 2012 at the Bellagio

One of the best annual exhibits, for Chinese New Year celebrations, is at the botanical garden at the Bellagio. Presently they have a Chinese New Year display for the year of the Dragon on view through March 3, 2012. Upon entering the atrium visitors are greeted by the main attraction, two large 25-foot blue dragons, coiled around a cylinder of water.  Surrounded by tropical botanics, the cylinders are displayed among two 3,000-pound stone waterfalls. The Dragons blow steam from their nostrils, while the animated mythical creatures playfully swat at the iridescent red pearl hanging directly above. In Chinese lore, the pearl represents wealth, good luck and prosperity.  Nearby, four additional animated dragons lunge in the direction of the centerpiece. These 15-foot long dragons represent the elements wood, metal, fire and earth and are surrounded by large silk red Chinese lanterns. Red lanterns are a symbol of brightness, happiness and reunion. They are also said to ward off evil spirits and are thus imperative for all traditional Chinese festivals. I-Ching coins surround the dragons as a symbol of luck and prosperity for the new year.  The Bellagio is celebrating “Year of the Dragon” with daily live musical performances in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens inside the wing-tipped Ming Dynasty-style gazebo in the South Garden. The complimentary performances take place from 5 to 6 p.m. featuring The Las Vegas-based “Beijing Trio” performing traditional folk and pop music with authentic Chinese instruments including the erhu, ruan and pipa.

For a fantastic day of music and dance, the annual celebrations at the Chinatown Plaza are a great event for the whole family.  This celebration, popular among locals, is organized by the Chinese American Chamber of Commerce and is the largest event of its kind in Las Vegas.  Only a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip it is great daytime event for visitors.

This year celebration will be held on Sunday, January 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4255 Spring Mountain Rd.  The Chinese New Year celebrations feature traditional foods, exhibits and entertainment for the entire family. The Entertainment starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. There are several vendors selling traditional crafts from Feng Shui amulets for prosperity, to dishes, dresses and parasols.  This years entertainment will include local Vegas talent and feature: Lion Dance, Japanese Taiko Drums, Chinese Fold Dance, Japanese Dance, Chinese Martial Arts, Polynesian Dance, Chinese Acrobatics, Vietnamese Dance, Korean Dance and Dragon Dance. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under are free.

Click to learn more about Chinatown Plaza

Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza

Other Events in Las Vegas celebrating the Chinese New Year include:

Wakin Chau in concert: Caesars Palace welcomes the Year of the Dragon with lion dances and a concert by Chinese Mandopop star Wakin Chau at The Colosseum. His platinum albums such as You Make Me Happy and Sad, Flower’s Heart, Music Brings Us Together and Friends have won awards in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Dragon and Lion Dances:  

January 27 at the Wynn, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the south valet area.

January 27 at Harrah’s, starting at 5 p.m., 6:15 p.m. at Imperial Palace, 7 p.m. at the Flamingo and 10 p.m. at the Rio.

On January 28: at noon at Planet Hollywood , 1 p.m. at Paris, 2 p.m. at Bally’s and 5 p.m. at Caesars Palace.

On February at The Gold Coast, at 7:30 and 10 p.m.

 Happy New Year