The Las Vegas Chinese New Year 2014 was an event that I had to celebrate in style, also because I’m under the sign of the Horse. This year it fell on January 31, through February 18.
Most people in the US and other parts of the world have no clue to what and when the Chinese New Year is. In Vegas, it is well known since it is widely celebrated in hotels and casinos. It is the longest and most significant celebration in the Chinese lunar calendar, and it varies per year.
This year Bellagio hotel was absolutely gorgeous. The celebrations were hosted in the hotel’s conservatory and botanical gardens from January 11 through March 1. The colorful exhibits were well organized, a clear indication of lots of man hours put into the project.
The first thing I saw when I entered the conservatory was a giant Chinese money tree that had very many large gold coins which to me seemed to be close to a thousand. The base of the tree was surrounded by mounds of I-Ching coins – there were actually 384 in number – Wow!.
Chinese garden, with real flowers, pagoda and Fengshui ornaments to celebrate the Chinese New Year 2014, at Bellagio hotel conservatory
Owing to the fact that this Chinese year is the Year of the Horse, it was no surprise that the centerpiece of the event’s vibrant display was the three-tier mountain that featured eight horses. For the Chinese, eight is a lucky number.
There were seven life-size horses on the sides of the mountain and one massive gold stallion was on the mountaintop. The display was illuminated by two giant red lanterns. Water cascaded from the mountain into a tranquil pond full of koi fish.
The conservatory’s ceiling had clusters of red silk lanterns and firecrackers, commonly used in Chinese celebrations and festivals, hanging from it. They are believed to keep evil at bay since they represent happiness and prosperity. The light changed from red to intense blue with great transition. The pagoda was surrounded by Feng Shui ornaments – an art meant to use the surroundings to attract harmony, balance and positive energy.
A zigzag bridge extended from both sides of the Chinese-themed pavilion in the North Garden. The reason for its unique design was so as to provide a difficult route for bad spirits and negative energy (I am researching whether or not there is scientific truth behind this. If I find it to be true, I’ll build a home with zigzag corridors ;)
There were beautiful floral decorations representing six Chinese children in the botanical garden. What surprised me was that each of the children’s costumes was made up of 1,800 multicolored flowers. I’m guessing it must have taken months to create just a child’s costume.
Each botanical garden had water which in Chinese culture is a symbol of a positive flow of energy. The Las Vegas-based Beijing trio were to perform from 5p.m. to 6.p.m. Unfortunately I didn’t stay long enough to experience what they had to offer since I also wanted to have a Las Vegas Chinese New Year 2014 experience at the Venetian Hotel.
The Venetian also put together a very colorful display. Highlights included the tall hand-loomed gold and red paper lanterns that were suspended in the air and the eight unique hand-sculpted horses throughout the display.
The centerpiece was a horse that stood 16 feet high. It carried a load of treasure to bring good fortune to the visitors. The horses were surrounded by large gold coins and Feng Shui ornaments. There was also one sculpted lamb. The lamb is believed to be the horse’s secret friend.
An event worth attending next year: the year of the goat
The two hotels put together really impressive displays. I also learned a lot about the Chinese culture. If you weren’t a part of the event this year, you should include it in your 2015 resolutions. Attending it will give you tremendous joy, I’m sure. Until then, let’s enjoy this year’s free events at the Bellagio Gardens :)